A journey begun by Lyric Flood in elementary school took a large step toward completion Wednesday morning in Polk County High School’s library.
There, surrounded by family, friends and school personnel, Flood signed a national letter-of-intent to play soccer at Lenoir-Rhyne University, committing to join the four-time defending South Atlantic Conference champions who finished this season as one of the top Division II programs in the nation.
For a player involved with soccer since “second or third grade,” the signature represented the realization of a long-held dream.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Flood said. “I am so excited.”
With various all-conference, all-region and all-area honors on her resume, Flood will bring an accomplished skill set to the Bears next season, according to Polk County head coach Lennox Charles. Flood has played both midfield and forward for the Wolverines.
“I think they’re getting a very athletic player who can play multiple positions,” Charles said. “I don’t know where they plan on playing her, but at that level she is athletic enough to play outside midfield, to play forward or to play outside defender. Based on the skill set she has, she could fit into all of those places.”
Lenoir-Rhyne finished its 2013 season with a 14-4-2 record and reached the second round of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament. The Bears were ranked 22nd in the nation in the final NCAA Division II poll.
“I love the campus,” Flood said. “When I visited there I fell in love with it. The coaches are really friendly and it feels like everybody looks out for you.”
“We are very excited to add Lyric to our 2014 recruiting class,” said Lenoir-Rhyne head coach Cally Morrill. “She seemed to fall in love with the university and women’s soccer program from day one of having her on campus. Lyric is exactly the type of person and player that we strive to have within our program. Her determination and work rate will allow her grow quickly in the college game.”
Flood, who hopes to become an athletic trainer or physical therapist and will pursue that at Lenoir-Rhyne, caught the eye of the Bears’ coaching staff while playing club soccer for Spartanburg-based Carolina FC. She began hearing from Lenoir-Rhyne coaches around the start of the current school year, a process that culminated in Wednesday’s signing.
“I think she definitely could be playing as a freshman,” Charles said. “She has to compete, obviously, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she isn’t starting at some point this fall.
“Playing club soccer last year helped her in terms of her confidence level. I felt like the first two years she didn’t really realize all of the potential she had. That’s one thing I want to work with her on this year. If she can maintain her confidence level and see she is capable of doing a little bit more she can really help us this season. Obviously, Lenoir-Rhyne saw that same potential in her.”
Charles called Flood a “team-oriented player,” and it is team goals that are foremost on the senior’s mind, especially now that her college choice is complete, as she prepares for her final year as a Wolverine.
“I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Flood said.
“Overall, I want to improve personally. But the past couple of years we’ve gotten to the third round (of the state 2A playoffs). I’d like to make it past the third round. I want to go out big in my senior year.”