Sefton signs to play soccer at Shepherd
Posted: February 8, 2013
BERRYVILLE — A multi-sport athlete for most of her life, Rachel Sefton found herself faced with a difficult decision near the end of her junior year.
Continue playing volleyball, basketball and soccer for Clarke County High School or choose to focus on one in order to better her chances of continuing her athletic career in college?
Based on Thursday’s festivities, it looks like Sefton made the right choice.
With her parents, Chris and Stacy Sefton, and older brother Alex in tow, along with coaches Terry Ellis and Stephanie Suess, Sefton signed her National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Division 2 Shepherd University on a partial athletic scholarship in the fall.
“It’s an awesome feeling to know that I’m going to be able to continue to play soccer, which I love,” said Sefton, who made it official in the Eagles’ gymnasium after school. “I didn’t want to stop after high school, so it’s awesome that I can go and play somewhere that I’m wanted.”
Sefton was invited to a tryout held by the Rams in November and, after talking back and forth with the coaching staff, verbally committed in early January — roughly a year after deciding to try and play college ball.
Encouraged by Alex, who graduated from Clarke County in 2012 and recently completed his freshman season on the Hampden-Sydney football team, Sefton made the choice to make soccer a priority in order to try catch the eye of college coaches.
“With her being a tri-sport athlete, it was hard for her to be able to focus on one sport of the other. But I think that once Rachel determined that soccer was really where she wanted to focus, that’s when we could finally move ahead and find avenues for her,” Ellis said.
“We told her that if that’s really where she wanted to pursue, she needed to up her skills and game by moving to a high-level travel team.”
That’s exactly what Sefton did, joining FC Virginia’s Courage team and playing in showcases all over the east coast.
But while the club team exposed her to better competition and allowed her to be seen by college coaches, it also posed a problem when the school year came around.
“Once she decided to play on the club team, she wasn’t going to be able to play volleyball [at Clarke County],” Stacy said. “And that was tough for her because playing for her school is really important to her. But she ultimately made the decision and she stuck to it and it’s paid off.”
In Sefton the Rams will be getting a two-year varsity starter — heading into her senior season — who was a first team All-District selection, a Region B second team member and an All-State Group A honorable mention as a junior.
She’s scored five goals and tallied eight assists in her career, but made a name for herself on the defensive end of the field, where she helped the Eagles limit their opponents to just 1.4 goals per game and post 11 shutouts last season.
“She’s an excellent defender and I think she can step right in and become a key player at [Shepherd],” Ellis said.
Helping the transition will be former teammate Kasey Canterbury, who walked on at Shepherd in 2011 and is now a captain on the team.
Sefton, who was still able to play for the Eagles girls’ basketball team this year, said getting to work with Canterbury during her tryout really helped her comfort level and she can’t wait to reunite with her on the field in a Rams jersey in the fall.
“I love the coaching staff at Shepherd and it’s going to be awesome to play with Kasey again,” said Sefton, who plans on majoring in Biology with a focus on pre-med. “When Alex decided that he wanted to play football in college [last year], that’s when I decided I didn’t want to have to give up sports when I left high school either ... and now I don’t have to.”
-- Contact Kevin Trudgeon at email@example.comFollow on Twitter @WinStarSports1