Dynamic Midfield Duo Part 1: Lacy Bryant Signs to Continue Soccer Career at Fairmont State

By Julie Perine on February 07, 2018 via Connect-Bridgeport.com

When Lacy Bryant and Kaitlin Smith received Big 10 honors at the conclusion of the 2017 Bridgeport High School soccer season, Coach John Reese said those accolades were well-deserved. He also referred to the pair of seniors as his dynamic midfield duo.
Beginning in August, they will be Fairmont State University’s dynamic duo. At the BHS Library this afternoon, Bryant and Smith both signed letters of intent to continue their soccer career with the Fighting Falcons.
“They have been two very good center mids,” Reese said. “They complement each other and just do well together.”
Bryant and Smith were instrumental in a winning season for the Tribe. The Lady Indians went 13-4-5, ultimately falling in the sectional final, losing 3-2 to Robert C. Byrd, which went on to win the state Class AA title.
According to field stats recorded on the Max Preps Web site, Bryant is credited with three goals and seven assists.She's the definition of a team player, Reese said. Had she not been so unselfish, she would have scored more goals. 
Reese said he wouldn't be surprised to see Bryant play a different position at FSU. 
“I think Lacy will play outside back,” he said. “She understands the game really well. I think she’s a very good defender and she’s quick; perfect for that position.”
Bryant possesses those important 1V1 soccer skills. She’s coachable and has an excellent work ethic.
“If there’s something she needs to work on, Lacy will work on it,” Reese said.
Like Smith, Bryant is soccer smart.
“They both can see the field and know what’s going on,” Reese said. “And as senior members of the team, they both have become very good leaders.”
Bryant said there are a variety of reasons why she has chosen FSU to continue her education and her athletic endeavors. The first reason is that it is close to home.
“I love my family and I rely on them a lot so I’ve always known that I didn’t want to go far,” she said.
Knowing she preferred a smaller college and that she wanted to continue soccer beyond high school, Fairmont made sense – especially after attending some women’s soccer games this past fall.
“I saw potential in this team. They haven’t been a program for long and this coach is new so I was really excited when I saw where this team could go in the future and I wanted to be a part of that,” she said. “I also like how the team’s starting lineup had freshmen on it. I feel as if some teams look to seniority to fill their starting spots, but not this one.”
Bryant said she has been playing soccer since she was old enough to kick a ball.
“My sister, Lakin, played soccer, so I was always at her games and tournaments,” she said. “I loved watching it and I loved playing with my sisters when I was little. It’s what I grew up doing and it’s never left me.”
Bryant played for years for Bridgeport Soccer Association, from U-5 all the way through middle school.
“I then played middle and high school soccer, as well as in Katie Riffle Tournaments and All-Star tournaments,” she said. “And I went to many camps when I was little. In middle school, I played for a travel team called the Celtics and in high school, I played for Mountain State Soccer Club and West Virginia ODP (Olympic Development Program.)”
Competing in WV ODP regionals was a very cool experience, Bryant said.
“It was in New Jersey and we were playing teams way above our skill level. I got to play defense against one of the nation’s top 10 forwards - and she didn’t score.”
That experience fueled Bryant’s fire to continue to play soccer, but she said no experience overshadows her years with the Lady Indians of BHS.
“One of my all-time favorite memories was getting to states my freshman year and being able to have a starting position for the team,” she said.
2014 was the last time the Lady Indians advanced to the state championship. After defeating Fairmont 8-0 in the semis, they went on to be defeated 5-0 by Charleston Catholic, Reese recalls. 
Playing under Coach Reese has been a privilege, Bryant said. He is responsible for some of her best memories of high school soccer.
“He could beat everyone on our team – and probably outrun us, too,” she said.
Reese is funny and good-natured, but also tough, she said.
Bryant is fortunate to have received so many athletic accolades, including All-State (Honorable Mention, Second Team and First Team); All-County (First and Second Teams); First Team Big 10; First Team All-Region, Player of the Game honors; TEAM’s Biggest Surprise (freshman), Ultimate Team Player (sophomore) and MVP (senior); participation in the North/South Game and serving as BHS team co-captain her junior and senior years.
“All of my honors have been really awesome memories for me, but I couldn’t have any of these memories without all of my teammates throughout the four years,” Bryant said. “They are who make me become a better player and who help make the memories for me.”
A member of the BHS National Honor Society, Bryant plans to pursue primary education as her career choice and field of study at FSU. She is also considering a minor in mathematics.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and that hasn’t changed,” she said.
For that aspiration, she looks to her sister, role model and best friend, Logan Bowers, who teaches school here in Harrison County.
“I saw her studying for hours and writing long essays and doing lesson plans, but I also saw her impacting the students’ lives,” Bryant said. “I heard people talk about how great of a teacher she was and I knew that’s what I wanted to be.”
Joining Bryant at today's signing were Coach John Reese, Assistant Coach Valerie Barlow, former Assistant Coach Melissa Miller, parents Felicia and Doug, sisters Lakin Bryant and Logan Bowers, nephew Jackson, grandparents Bob and Lou Rhoades and cousin Brent Rhoades. 

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