July 4, 2014

Wright reaches her goals

When Lynne Wright’s parents first signed her up to play recreation league soccer when she was in second grade, it was mainly to give their daughter an athletic activity.

They never imagined that little girl would turn into one of the area’s top players.

Next week, the 14-year-old Varnell resident competes in the 2014 U.S. Youth Soccer National President’s Cup. Wright, who will be a ninth-grader at Coahulla Creek in August, plays for the Chattanooga Football Club’s girls 14-and-under select team, which will compete in the national championship tournament July 10-12 in Greenville, S.C.

“As a parent, I never played soccer and didn’t know a whole lot about it,” said her father, Greg Wright. “It was something for her to do, but my daughter is a pretty competitive person. She has played softball, basketball and (been a cheerleader). She turned out to be more of an athlete. My wife and I feel like if you come home with your teeth still in and no broken bones then it was a good day. But she is more competitive than that.”

And so is the rest of her team.

Chattanooga FC won the Tennessee State Soccer Association Division II title earlier this summer, and then the team played in the U.S. Youth Soccer Region III championship in Decatur, Ala., last month.

In Decatur, the team put on a dominating performance, winning five games without giving up a goal to capture the title against teams from across the southern United States from Florida to Oklahoma.  

Now, they head to Greenville ready to face the three other regional champions for the national title. Chattanooga FC’s opener at the tournament is against California’s West Coast Futbol Club United “White” squad, with teams from Pennsylvania and Illinois also competing in the tournament.

It is the first time in five years that a girls team from Tennessee has advanced to the President’s Cup.

“I am so excited,” Lynne said. “It is going to be great. I started playing select (soccer) in fourth grade, and I really liked it and wanted to keep doing it. It is a lot of travel, but it is a lot of fun and I enjoy playing with all of my teammates.”

Winning helps. The Chattanooga FC team hasn’t lost a game during tournament play this season, and Wright, a forward, has been a big part of that success.

In the Tennessee state finals, Wright scored the game’s only goal with 10 minutes remaining in the second half, lacing a shot from 20 yards out on the side into the far post for the clincher.

“She is an extremely hard worker and dedicated,” Chattanooga FC coach Jason Kaset said. “She is fearless. I could go on and on about her overall work rate. The funny thing about her is that you don’t hear a word out of her during training, but you cut her loose on the field, and she is a warrior. It is like the battle is on for her.”

After the national tournament, Wright looks forward to playing sports for the Lady Colts. The 5-5 Wright plans on going out for volleyball as a setter in the fall before hitting the soccer field in the spring.

“It is going to be a lot better players to work with and compete against,” said Wright, who hopes to earn a scholarship to play at the collegiate level. “Meeting new players and learning to play with them and the competition rate going up are all going to be big challenges. I hope to have success right off the bat.”

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