Four years ago, Carlie Davis signed a commitment to play soccer at Baylor University on National Signing Day. This morning, her little sister Delanie chose to follow in her sibling’s footsteps.
Grant Norris, also a Lake Highlands High School graduating senior, signed to play soccer for Midwestern State in Wichita Falls.
“I am so excited and proud of Delanie,” Carlie told me by email from Oregon, where she plays professional soccer with the Portland Thorns. “I’m sure my opinion is a little biased, but I think she made a wonderful decision. Honestly, I would have been proud of her and happy for her for any decision she made – and she had quite a few big time schools interested in her. But of course, when she chose Baylor, I could not have been happier.”
“I am looking forward to the reality of being committed to a place where I have dreamed of playing for the last several years,” said Delanie, who currently plays for Sting Soccer Club. “I am looking forward to competition at the college level against some of my teammates I have been playing with in club soccer over the past ten years.”
Though she admits she’ll miss LH, Delanie says she’s looking forward to what her future has in store.
“Soccer has taught me to manage adversity and not fear failure.”
Carlie knows a little about what Delanie can expect.
“I had the most incredible experience; a great athletic department and academic environment, the best teammates, coaches, peers, mentors I could ask for…everything I could have wanted in a college experience. I’m honored that she chose to spend her college years at Baylor, but I am more just excited for her to have her own experience because I know she will be surrounded by some of the best people on and off the field.”
“I don’t think I can really compare our experiences – she is coming into the program at a much different time than I did. When I went to Baylor in the fall of 2009, the program was just beginning a rebuilding phase. We brought in 12 girls (only 6 of whom remained throughout the 4 years), and it was a team that had struggled in the Big 12 Conference. We had a lot of tough times, especially in my first 2 seasons, as the rebuilding phase is never easy. By my senior year, we won the Big 12 tournament and made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. Delanie will be entering a competitive and elite environment. The culture of the team is now one of hard work, passion, enthusiasm, faith and commitment. If she has those qualities, which I think she will, then I know she will do just fine.”
“Delanie was one of my biggest fans when I was in college; she came to many of my games in-state and out-of-state. Now it’s my turn to be her biggest fan. “
For the Norris family, things are a little different. Laura will be sending her first child off to college.
“From the time Grant started playing at the age of 4, he loved it,” she said. “He has been talking about playing college soccer for years. Signing day is the realization of his lifelong dream.”
Though he had options much farther away, says Laura, playing close to home will enable him to visit often and make it back for occasional Sunday family dinners. Grant’s sister, Lainey, will be a junior at LHHS in the fall.
“I’m proud of him, not only because he is going to play in college, but also because he has worked so very hard to make it happen,” said Laura. “He has put in untold hours of practice and extra skill sessions to be the best player he can be.”
“Grant has been an integral part of our team,” said Wildcat soccer coach Hanes Brindley at the official signing, “and he continues to do great things. He’s a leader. I’m really happy for this guy.”
“I’m looking forward to being around players at a new and higher level,” said Grant. “I’ve learned how to be a leader on and off the field, and I’ve learned that through the hard times, you have to push on and do the best you can.”
And what will it be like around the Norris house when Grant’s gone?
“I can’t even go there,” said Laura. “Just don’t ask.”