Redferrin's dream comes true
Thirteen years of hard work finally came to fruition last week when former MCHS soccer player Abbey Redferrin signed with Freed-Hardeman University over offers from Bethel University, Cumberland University, and Campbellsville (KY) University.
"I've been wanting to go to Freed (Hardeman) for a long time," Redferrin, who finished her MCHS career with 41 goals and 51 assists, said. "It's a small private school which is what I want, it's not too far away from home, I can play on the soccer team and maybe get some good playing time. I'm Church of Christ and it's a Church of Christ school so everything added up and I got some scholarship money, and I'm ready for the new experience."
Freed-Hardeman is located in Henderson, Tennessee, a town of around 6,000 residents situated in Chester County and sits around 17 miles south of Jackson, which is West Tennessee's second largest city.
The University has 1,972 students and the soccer team competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level and resides in the American Midwest Conference competing against teams located in Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois.
"We were really impressed with Abbey when we saw her at camp," Freed-Hardeman head coach Jason Elliot, who has coached the Lions during all 15 years of the sports existence at the school said. "She has good knowledge of the game, good vision, knows how to read the game---you can tell she's played a lot of soccer. We need players on the outside-mid position that can cross the ball in and she's got a good cross and knows how to attack the goal. Those were some of the things that drew us to her."
The 2015 Marshall County Most Valuable Player led her team to the best record in over a decade at 13-4 in 2015, which included a school record start at 10-0 and she guided her squad to an unprecedented four straight playoff appearances under the tutelage of coach Mark Redferrin (father) and assistant coach Lea Barnes.
"Obviously Abbey is dedicated to the sport," coach Barnes said. "She's out there practicing when other people aren't, she's improving her skills and she's had a great support system. Both her mom and dad have pushed her and given her opportunities to really excel and that's so important in a kid's life. So I think she's wanted this and she's gone out there and made it happen."
Along with being named All-District three straight seasons (2013-15), 2014 Most Outstanding Midfielder, 2015 Most Outstanding Offensive Player and MVP, and a two-year captain, Redferrin also excelled at travel ball with the Lincoln County Futbol Club who finished as TSSAA Division 3 State Champions and 2013 TSSAA Division 2 State Finalist.
"With any player it's starting young, quality instruction and hard work" coach Mark Redferrin said. "Those are three recipes for a chance at success. We started her playing soccer at three years old, started her playing travel ball when she was eight and she's been playing travel ball ever sense. She's had great coaches through the years, she's got a strong work ethic and it takes all those components to give yourself a chance."
The younger Redferrin has also been an exemplary student off the field, maintaining a 3.86 GPA and graduating with honors while taking advanced placement classes along with being an American Legion Auxiliary Volunteer Girl's State Delegate and participating in the MCHS Choir all four years, Sub-Deb Sorority from 2013-15, and the Leo Service Club from 2013-15 all which made the soccer standout that much easier to recruit.
"I think first and foremost when recruiting you think about the attitude--does the player have a positive attitude?" Elliott said. "Do they want to work hard? Because it's going to be a big jump from high school to college. Also you have to think about the character of the person--are they going to be in trouble, causing problems with the team, that type of thing. So it's the attitude, character, and then you look at ability after that, so in those respects Abbey was an easy decision for us."
"I expect college to be a lot different, but different in a good way," Redferrin added. "I expect it to be busy and soccer be even a bigger part of my life now since it's going to be in college and at a higher level. I'll be keeping busy and I'm excited for some new experiences."
While the elder Redferrin has had to wear the hat of a coach the past four years, the MCHS soccer coach is proud not just of the athlete his daughter has become but the person she has grown into.
"This is the day that we've been waiting for and it's really hard to describe," Mark Redferrin said. "We're super proud of her not just because she's a good soccer player, but where our pride comes from is that she's a good kid."
"She does well in school, she does well in relationships with people, she has a heart of service for others," Redferrin continued. "Forget soccer, we want to raise our kid to be good, to be a good person. I think she's on her way to do that, soccer is just another extension of that. So we're really excited for her."