Mississippi for Mathematics and Science girls soccer coach Chuck Yarborough poses for a picture with senior Erin Williams on Monday at the school in Columbus. Photo by: Adam Minichino/Dispatch Staff
December 17, 2018 9:57:34 PM
Erin Williams is more than a goal scorer for the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science girls soccer team.
In her second year at the school for juniors and seniors in Columbus, Williams has staked her claim to be one of the area's top scorers.
But unlike other teams with more longer-tenured players, Williams is asked to do more than just score goals. While her ability to find the net has been impressive. Williams' ability to teach and to lead her teammates might be more valuable.
"If somebody comes to me and asks me how to do a certain move and they do it in the game, I just feel really proud, like a proud mom because I helped them to learn that or to do that," Williams said. "I just feel really proud."
Williams has 11 goals and three assists to lead MSMS (3-1-1) entering the holiday break. Last week, she scored a goal in a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 1A/2A/3A, Region 4 loss to Choctaw Central. She has seven goals and two assists in the team's first three region matches.
For her accomplishments, Williams is The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week.
"She really is a special kind of player and leader," MSMS girls soccer coach Chuck Yarborough said. "Clearly, she can play the game. ... The best players in every sport never give up on a play. They know if they keep working, they can impact the match. This is true of Erin Williams.
"But, in addition, what makes Erin an extraordinary player on our team and in our district is she never gives up on her teammates, trusting that working together they can reach the goals they've set."
Williams started her soccer career when she was 6 years old in Hattiesburg. She played only one year before she gave up the sport, only to return when she started at Hattiesburg High. She also competed in volleyball and in track and field in high school. Williams said she played club soccer for one year in Hattiesburg.
When she arrived at MSMS, Williams said she was surprised by the quality of the players on the soccer team. She said she wanted to make sure she had the "full high school experience," so she opted to continue playing soccer at MSMS.
As one of the most experienced players in her second season on the squad, Williams said she feels more like a leader. Last season, she said she helped her roommate, Zariah Wright, learn to play the sport. This season, Wright has emerged as a defender.
"I feel it is good to have people in those kind of roles to help people out," Williams said.
Williams said she always tries to give her best because she doesn't want to let her teammates down. That motivation stems from the fact she is one of the most experienced players and because she has high expectations for herself. Williams said the goals she sets for herself haven't changed because she might be playing with teammates who haven't been playing soccer for as long as she has been playing the sport.
When you've been playing for as long as Williams, you tend to become a teacher. In the process, Williams said has learned a lot about herself.
Williams also has learned how to shoulder the responsibility of being leading scorer. That feeling continues to motivate Williams, who said she would like to play soccer in college. She said she hopes to study computer science in college.
"I know I have learned patience," Williams said. "A lot of people come here and try a sport for the first time. Not everybody is going to be at the same experience level or the same skill level.
"I think I have learned how not to get upset with people because everybody's best is different."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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