December 4, 2012 9:55:20 AM
STARKVILLE -- Years worth of hard work came to fruition Monday afternoon for Carolina Berryhill.
Whether it was training or playing with a club team in Tupelo or with the Starkville High School girls soccer team, Berryhill can rest assured she has a place to continue her career after she signed a scholarship to play soccer at Jones County Junior College next season.
"It is amazing," Berryhill said. "Ever since my 10th-grade year I have wanted to play in college, especially for a good team, and Jones is a really good team. It is overwhelming. I never thought this day would come."
Berryhill feels her aggressive play and scoring ability, whether off set pieces or on combination plays, helped her attract the attention of college coaches.
JCJC coach Delores Deasley, who has been at the school for seven seasons, said Berryhill is the first player she has signed from Starkville High. She feels her versatility will fit nicely into the program.
"Carolina contacted us, so she has done her homework with her parents' help," Deasley said. "We were delighted she contacted us and came to watch her a few times. We're happy to have her on board. I think she is going to be a really good addition for us. She has a good soccer brain. Technically, she is very solid, and that is the type of player we're trying to bring in."
JCJC went 13-1-1 this past season and was the MACJC South Division champion. The team was ranked as high as No. 14 nationally.
Berryhill has five goals this season as a midfielder/forward for the Lady Yellow Jackets (3-3-4). Last season, she had 19 goals and 12 assists and was the most valuable offensive player. In 2010-11, she was the team MVP. She was an All-Area team member in both of those seasons.
Starkville coach Anna Albritton said Berryhill has been a solid presence in the midfield the past few seasons. She said her footwork and her shooting ability are her strongest attributes.
"This is what she has wanted to do for a long time," Albritton said of playing soccer at the next level. "She has visited a lot of schools. She started doing that last year. She visited Jones and right away that's where she wanted to go."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.