Tigerette goalkeeper Porter signs with Bethel University
Of the millions of high school athletes across multiple sports that have a goal to play college athletics in the United States, only a tiny fraction ever get the opportunity to achieve that goal.
An even harder task is earning a soccer scholarship as fewer colleges field a squad and those that do have a limited budget to work with to offer recruits a full ride.
But against those odds, Tigerette goalkeeper Haley Porter not only earned a scholarship but had multiple schools to choose from to continue her career.
"There were a lot of colleges to choose from but it came down to Bethel University, Tennessee Wesleyan, Lee University, and Bryan College," Porter, who had close to 200 saves over the past two seasons, said. "I chose Bethel because I liked that it was a small, private college and I already had quite a few friends there that will be able to show me the way."
Porter came to Marshall County from Zion Christian before the start of her sophomore year, but like most dreams the wheels were in motion long before taking over the starting goalkeeping position entering the 2016 season.
"I decided in the eighth grade I was going to play college soccer," Porter said. "My freshman year I went to recruiting ID camps, went to play soccer at different camps, and I kept my eye out for ways to get better."
"I am constantly worked on running times and goalkeeping," Porter added. "I also took notes on how to get better when I went to camps and was just always working at getting better."
The constant work did not go unnoticed by MCHS head coach Mark Redferrin as Porter stepped right into the starting goalkeeping position in just her second year with the program.
"Like all athletes who make it to the next level, Haley has dedicated herself to her craft since a young age, “Redferrin said. "She has played travel soccer for several years and has surrounded herself with coaches and trainers who pushed her to be better every day."
"Haley has benefited from the support, encouragement, and resources her parents, family, and many teammates have provided her," Redferrin continued. "And she has taken full advantage of those as evidenced by her accomplishments not only for the Tigerettes but her travel team as well."
The results were easily noticed on the field as Porter was awarded the District Co-MVP Goalkeeping Award in 2017 despite the Tigerettes winning just two games overall and finishing in last place in the district.
"Haley has been an irreplaceable member of our team for the past two seasons," Redferrin added. "She has kept us competitive in games we otherwise weren’t and has pulled out some wins for us by making critical plays at critical times. Our team has depended on her in clutch situations and she never disappointed."
Although the 2017 season was a disappointment in the win column, Porter was the goalie for six shutouts the previous season along with five other games where just a single goal was allowed.
Porter was on a team that finished with a healthy 22 wins over the three seasons the goalkeeper played for the Tigerettes and earned 2016 All-District along with 2016 team MVP and that success will translate into a productive career at the next level according to Redferrin.
"While the transition from high school to college is very tough mentally, physically, and emotionally, Haley has a strong work ethic and commitment to team that will serve her well," Redferrin stated. "With continued training and time spent with her new team, I have no doubt that Haley will become a valuable member of the Wildcats soccer family and make huge contributions to their team on and off the field."
Haley also has her own expectations for college and her number one concern is the one thing all students must learn to make the transition to higher learning a smooth one.
"I'm going to have to have a lot of personal responsibility," Porter said. "I'm going to have to work hard at balancing school, work, and all the things that come with playing college soccer. But I'm looking forward to playing soccer with the girls and getting to meet my new family at Bethel."
And despite the Tigerette soccer program not having a junior high feeder program or a well-maintained local youth league, coach Redferrin has beat the odds and placed his third player in the past three years in the college ranks with Abbey Redferrin at Freed-Hardeman and Yesnia Egenia at Martin Methodist.
"If you get the idea that you want to play a college sport, do everything you can to standout," Porter offered. "Go to as many camps as you can, take any advice that can help you become a better player, and just work hard."