National Signing Day came and went Feb. 1 with five Columbia County athletes signing National Letters of Intent.
But the county wasn't finished after just one day. Since the first day of the signing period, two more Columbia County soccer athletes have committed to colleges. Evans High School forward Allie Young signed with Columbus State University while Lakeside goal keeper Emily Brandenburg will play for Frances Marion University next year.
As a Lady Knight, Young has always been known for a certain part of her game that the senior can't even control: She's a left-footed kicker.
"I haven't seen a girl with a left foot like that in a while," Evans girls soccer coach Troy Willard said. "She's got a heck of a corner kick, too."
The senior standout excels on her high school team and also plays virtually year-round as a member of the Augusta Arsenal. She has impressed players and coaches on the club ball level as well.
"Some of the best goals I've seen are from her whipping or floating the ball in from the left," Augusta Arsenal coach Forrest Wimberly said. "Her ability to pass the ball is a quality the college coaches love."
Wimberly has coached Young for the past three years with the Augusta Arsenal. At Evans, the forward has started for the Lady Knights since she was a freshman. She is the first Evans girls soccer player to sign this year.
"It's more than just a hobby, it's a lifestyle," Young said.
At Lakeside, the soccer lifestyle didn't fully take over Brandenburg's life until her junior year. Before then, the senior goal keeper didn't even consider playing in college as a possibility.
"As of last year, I had my mind set on going to Georgia just to be a student," Brandenburg said. "Over the summer, I rethought my decision to play college soccer and visited Frances Marion in October."
Lakeside girls soccer coach Chris Newman said the Frances Marion Patriots picked up a quality girl to play in their net next season.
"Emily Brandenburg is our goal keeper," Newman said. "She's the best keep I've seen in this area in a long time."
With her college decision behind her, Brandenburg said she's glad she can concentrate on her senior season at Lakeside. The Lady Panthers sported a 12-2-3 record last season, and the senior goal keeper said one of her goals this year is to beat an old rival.
"Greenbrier is always the game that you look for on the schedule," she said. "We split with them last year. I'd like to go out my senior year with a bang and win in a shootout."
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