Cameron McLaurin remembers her first-ever soccer practice like it was yesterday.
“The first day, it was pretty rough to begin with,” McLaurin said.
That memorable day was actually just three years ago when Sumrall’s soccer program was introduced. To McLaurin, it was a challenge she simply could not pass up.
“I just wanted to try something new, because I had played softball since I was really little,” McLaurin said. “I started volleyball my freshman year. And when they said we were getting a soccer program, it was something I really wanted to try.”
Ever since then, all McLaurin has done is improve on the pitch, turning herself into a next-level talent in the process. On Wednesday, she signed with Pearl River Community College.
McLaurin didn’t exactly see this day coming three years ago. But Sumrall head coach Todd Siders knew it was entirely possible from pretty much that first day of practice.
“The first time I saw her play, I knew she was raw, but you saw that athletic ability,” Siders said. “I knew she had an ability to play at this level, and she picked up on it.
“Credit to her for putting three years of hard work into this and putting herself in a situation to go play for a great college and continue her career.”
With players like McLaurin leading the way, the Sumrall Lady Bobcats have made great strides in just a short amount of time. Like in this season for example, as they repeated as Region 6-4A Champions. Her 12 goals and team-leading 8 assists have been key to that success this year. But that’s not all she brings to the table, said Siders.
“As good of a player she [McLaurin] is, she’s a better person off the field, and we pride ourselves in that. She’s always there for her teammates and encouraging them. She’s a natural leader, and we wouldn’t be here without her leadership and her ability on the soccer field as well.”
McLaurin will join current Sumrall teammates Kailey Gresham and Abigail Thexton at Pearl River. Getting a chance to see the trio continue their playing careers together is always a plus to Siders.
“Extremely grateful for Coach [Jack] Byrd for being willing to come look at a new program,” Siders said. “He liked what he saw, and I kept telling him that we’ve got some girls with a lot of potential. He sees that, and I think it’s going to pay big dividends for them down the road.”