Carmin Smith set a goal her junior year of wanting to play soccer at the next level.
However it wasn’t until recently that the Seymour High School senior decided where she wanted to play.
After making several visits to Greenville University in Greenville, Illinois, she decided that was the place for her.
Carmin’s father, Wil, encouraged her to visit Greenville because he had played soccer for the Panthers.
“That’s part of the reason I’m going there,” she said. “Actually, in the beginning I was determined not to go there because he played there. I kind of wanted to do my own thing. In reality, I was looking for a place like Greenville. It’s small, close-knit community and I couldn’t find that anywhere else. I feel welcome there so that is where I ended up.”
She saw the Panthers play against Spaulding in Louisville, and saw them play some home matches, and also attended one of their camps.
“I’m going in as an outside wing defense,” she said. “I will be a flexible player wherever they want me to play. I can learn the position and start doing something new.”
Smith, who is on the SHS track team this spring to keep up her fitness, played outside back for the Owls for most of her high school career.
Greg Musser, head girls soccer coach at SHS said he feels she can definitely have an impact on the Greenville program.
“I think she’s going to be a very steady player for Greenville,” Musser said. “I think they know exactly what they’re getting in Carmin. She’s not going to go out and flash you, but she is positionally sound everywhere she is on the field.
“That is way more beneficial to college coaches at the defensive level and having someone that is cerebral enough to know exactly where they need to be and when they know to be there.”
Greenville’s soccer team is in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with 10 members located in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky. The school has an undergraduate enrollment of 928.
The Panthers, coached by Jeff Wardlan, were 14-7-1 last fall including 6-2-1 in the conference.
Musser said Smith’s background in soccer helped her become a better high school player.
“She was one of the most reliable players I think we’ve ever really had in our program,” he said. “She came in as a freshman having played soccer for a few years, playing travel throughout, and her father being an ex-high school coach, kept her in the game and was able to teach her a lot throughout her elementary school and middle school years and up until the high school team.
“When she got to high school she was a lot smarter about the game than most freshmen are when they come in so she was prepared mentally to get on the field and contribute, and I think she did a great job for us as a freshman in really kind of learning the ropes, and bringing that into her sophomore and junior year, and then definitely her senior year.”
He said she led by example.
“She was one of those non-vocal leaders, but you have to have those on the team. She was able to push the girls without having to call them out,” Musser said. “She was one of those lynch pins on the team that everybody would just go to and talk to.
“By her senior year she as definitely able to come to me and bridge the gap between some of the players and myself and pass along concerns and a few of those things. That’s the stuff you don’t really see, and you don’t get a lot of credit for.
“She was just tremendous at doing the non-vocal stuff and the behind-the-scenes work for our program and that’s going to be missed a lot.”
Musser said she Smith did a good job applying pressure on opposing teams.
“She did a lot of pressure. As teams would come down the field she would be the first defender to kind of step there. As our philosophy would change over the last couple years, especially the last year, we wanted her to get up and attack a little bit more, start to recognize moments when we could pin teams down in their own end.
“As a defender, she was the last line of defense so she had some responsibilities of rotating over and covering in the middle to stop shots. There’s a lot of stuff that goes into the defensive position, a lot of cerebral thoughts need to go through recognition of plays and it’s tough spot to play but she did it very, very well for us.”
Smith will major in elementary education, and knows it is going to take a lot of hard work to get playing time.
“I’m not the biggest, strongest player,” Smith said. “I figure I need to be more fit, and practice harder than anyone else to make the cut so that’s what I’m going to do.”