Eagles’ Fletcher to sign with App. State

Posted: February 6, 2013

Clarke County senior Aubrey Fletcher (center) plans to sign a partial scholarship to play soccer at Appalachian State University today. Fletcher is flanked by assistant coach Stephanie Suess and head coach Terry Ellis. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)

BERRYVILLE — It may not be official until she puts pen to paper today, but as far as Aubrey Fletcher is concerned the decision on where she will be going to college has been set in stone for a while now.

Sporting a black-and-yellow Appalachian State long-sleeved shirt and surrounded by family members decked out in Mountaineers gear as well, the Clarke County soccer star held a signing ceremony Tuesday morning that reaffirmed where she will be taking her talents in the fall.

Due to NCAA rules Fletcher cannot officially sign her letter of intent until the signing period begins today.

“Once I verbally committed I knew that wasn’t going to change, I wanted to go there,” said Fletcher, who made her initial selection of Division 1 Appalachian State back in December of 2011. “I love it down there, it’s so beautiful and the coaches are amazing. That’s why I wanted to go there.”

While some high school athletes struggle to make a decision in the recruiting process, the two-time Winchester Star Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year said it was a no-brainer when it came to picking the Boone, N.C., school.

“I was also looking at George Mason and Pittsburgh, but once I went down [to Appalachian State] I just knew,” said Fletcher, who will play either forward or in the midfield on a partial athletic scholarship. “I want to become a teacher possibly and it has a really good education program. And I like to ski and snowboard and a lot of the soccer team does that for team activities. It was just the right fit.”

Fletcher’s decision should bode well for head coach Sarah Strickland and the Mountaineers.

A member of the Southern Conference, Appalachian State has progressed nicely in the three years since Strickland took over. After going 5-8-5 (2-5-4 Southern) in her first season, the Mountaineers went 6-11-2 (2-7-2) in 2011 before improving to 10-8-1 (7-3-1) this past year.

In Fletcher they will be adding a goal-scoring machine who broke Clarke County’s career-scoring record — as a junior.

“I think she’ll be a contributor right away,” said Eagles coach Terry Ellis. “She’s very fit, has a great knowledge of the game and is very smart with her play. I think she’s found a great school that fits her needs and a coach who’s going to be willing to work with her style. She’s definitely going to have a great future there.”

Fletcher’s 150 career goals put her just 69 behind Graham’s Jessica Woodie for the state record and, after scoring a school-record 72 last season, it would be wise not to bet against her finishing her high school career with her name atop yet another list.

But while her senior season is a little over a month away, Tuesday’s ceremony was about celebrating the hard work of the past paying off.

“There was a lot of sacrifice that she gave up on the personal side,” said Fletcher’s father Craig. “Traveling all over the country with her travel team, being on the road all the time. But it’s what she wanted to do, it’s what she loved.

“She’d go play a four-day tournament, come home, put on her soccer pajamas and watch soccer on TV. If she didn’t love it, she probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as she has.”

Luckily for the Fletcher’s, it won’t be too far away. A six-hour drive from Berryville, the family, which includes twin sister Morgan and younger brother Chase, plans on making plenty of trips down I-81 to see Fletcher play.

“That was part of her decision, she was only going to go a certain distance,” said Fletcher’s mother Suzanne. “We went down to Coastal Carolina and she said that was too far. She kind of set her parameters and knew how far away she wanted to go.”

And for anyone that knows Fletcher, once she makes a decision, odds are she’s going to stick to it.

“My main goal coming into high school was to be a D-1 soccer player, so this means a lot,” Fletcher said. “All those road trips, the plane rides, everything has paid off. I’ve been wanting this forever and it’s great that it’s finally here.”

— Contact Kevin Trudgeon at ktrudgeon@winchesterstar.comFollow on Twitter @WinStarSports1