Through the good times, the bad times and the skinned knees, Jennifer Thompson has never stopped believing and working.
Thompson, the senior goalkeeper for Troup High School, has played in a Lady Tiger soccer program that has won only three games in the last two years. But somehow Thompson has remained upbeat.
She still comes back for more. Thompson’s will to succeed is undeniable. She lives to play the game, and she has always been a tough customer in front of the goal box.
Some people have noticed – spectators, coaches and recruiters. They know Thompson can play and win at the next level. Hence the college signing on Thursday afternoon in the Troup High Media Center.
Thompson, the girl with the long reach and the catquick moves, inked a junior college soccer scholarship with South Georgia State from Douglas. College football coaching legend Bobby Bowden once coached there at South Georgia, and now Thompson is going there to play soccer for coach Jacob Crawford’s Lady Hawks.
It is all a part of the plan for Thompson, the girl with the 4.0 grade point average and the exceptional soccer skills. She did have more than 100 saves for the Troup High Lady Tigers this season.
But college soccer is calling now, and Thompson has answered “yes.”
The Troup High star went with South Georgia State over LaGrange College. It was a hard decision, but the right one, according to Thompson.
“This is going to be a big change and a new experience. But this is an accomplishment that I have worked for. Soccer is fun, and I show a lot of passion. I am aggressive,” said Thompson.
She is also ready for the junior college soccer game. The South Georgia State women will open up the 2017 season on Sept. 7 at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton. Thompson hopes to be in the Lady Hawk starting lineup in that 5 p.m. match.
Coach Candice Morgan from Troup High thinks Thompson is good enough to start as a freshman at South Georgia State.
“Jennifer gives everything that she has. She is a leader and a team player. Jennifer has what it takes,” said Morgan.
Thompson’s mother, Aimee, expects her to excel in the class room and on the field in college. Yes, even as a freshman at South Georgia State, sandgnats or not.
“This (scholarship) means everything. Jennifer is determined, and I feel like she should start. Jennifer eats, lives and breathes soccer,” Aimee Thompson said of her 17-year-old daughter.
The South Georgia State signee has played competitive soccer since the age of nine. Jennifer Thompson played three years in the Recreation League in La-Grange. Thompson has also started for the Titans travel ball team.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer