Parkwood's Smith 'honored' to play for Wingate
Former Parkwood High soccer standout Maggie Smith, less than two months removed from her graduation, is about to get a taste of college soccer.
Smith has accepted a scholarship offer to soccer for Wingate University last month, and the Bulldogs open their season at Clayton State on Sept. 5.
Smith is looking forward to the opportunity.
"The biggest feeling was excitement," she said about the scholarship. "I was so excited to go to the next level. I was nervous a little, too, because it's going to be more advanced. I'm definitely more excited than nervous."
Smith caught the eye of Wingate head coach Chip Wiggins.
"When we were talking he said that there was one thing I had that you can't really teach and that was athleticism," Smith said. "He saw my speed and that I could jump high for my size. He said that is one thing you need to play and all of the other stuff would come."
Smith worked her way through high school at a diminutive size with the help of her athleticism. She was a starter on the girls basketball and soccer teams. Smith said she worked overtime on her game with Parkwood coach Julie Johnson.
"My coach was one of the main people that pushed me so hard and got me in shape," Smith said. "Coach Johnson has helped me out a lot one-on-one during the summer just getting ready for the next level."
Wingate finished 14-3-2 in 2012.
The Bulldogs return four former Union County stars, including junior Jade Montgomery (Piedmont), junior Katie Simpson-Eiss (Piedmont), senior Brandi Baldwin (Sun Valley) and senior Chelsey Horan (Marvin Ridge).
Montgomery was a Daktronics first-team all-American as a sophomore.
"I'm honored to be able to play with such great girls on that level," Smith said. "I'm excited to be friends with them, hang out with them and be on the team with them. It'll be fun just to practice with them because I know they're really good. I'm glad to compete along side them and become a part of that family."
Smith has always used her quickness and fierce competitive spirit to offset a lack of size.
She's not one to back away from a challenge.
"I just want to work hard and show what I've got," she said. "I feel like I'm coming in as an underdog being from Parkwood. I'm just ready to work hard. I don't have goals set to be a full-time starter or anything. I just want to show that I can compete on a college level."
Smith has been around her future teammates during Wingate's soccer camp last week..
"During camp we talked mainly about team goals," Smith said. "That's working on our speed of play with quick touches. We'll be using a lot more passes. It's different from high school when we just played the ball forward and ran after it. The speed of play is going to increase a lot."
Sept. 5^at Clayton St.^6:00
Sept. 7^vs. Montevallo^1:00
(in Morrow, Ga.)
Sept.11^at Mount Olive^7:00
Sept. 14^at Carson-Newman^5:00
Sept. 16^at UNC Pembroke^5:30
Sept. 29^at Tusculum^1:00
Oct. 4^at Mars Hill^4:00
Oct. 9^at Coker^4:30
Oct. 16^at Lander^4:30
Oct. 19^at Newberry^1:00
Nov. 2^at Lincoln Memorial^1:30
Nov. 5^SAC quarterinflnals^TBA