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New coach at helm for Crusaders

Mar. 19—Tucked away in the tiny Dunkin Donuts on a cloudy afternoon sat the new coach for the Lady Crusaders soccer team. Edye Carr, sat patiently with a touch of nervousness waiting for her interview to discuss her experience with the new team and her plans for the future.

The bright kelly green shirt bore the Harrells logo as she proudly repped the new team that she commands. She smiled widely speaking of the honor of taking over the Crusaders soccer team. As the streamer squealed loudly in the background, this didn't stop Carr from speaking louder much like you would on the pitch with screaming fans and ringing whistles.

Her last place of employment, simply wasn't a good fit and she mosied on over to become a Crusader. She currently works as the P.E. teacher at Harrells and her appointment as the head coach for the basketball middle school team was the door she walked through, setting her up for the job as varsity head coach for ladies soccer.

"They had some coaches on the team and wanted to had add someone who had more experience playing and maybe a little younger, closer to the kids age and relate to the kids in ways than the others couldn't. Not from trying, it's just an age gap that makes a big difference." she said regarding her selection for middle school coach.

She spoke fondly of how Harrells had admired and valued her experience. After a flourishing run middle school basketball team, Athletic Director Clayton Hall had approached her and gave her the opportunity to take the helm as the varsity soccer coach for the Lady Crusaders. Flush with excitement, even during the interview the wide smile of pride couldn't be ignored.

"It was honestly a surprise and quite shocking. I was very honored and humbled by the request." she said while gulping air from excitement.

She discussed the difference between middle school and high school varsity coaching, how the motives and focus are different, explaining how in middle school it's about developing funadmentals and love for the sport, with winning being an after thought. She laments not being able to play every player on her team as the stakes are different in a results driven contest versus the laid back nature of just playing for fun.

Carr utilizes her youth and her skill from her time on the pitch to help bring the Crusaders back to prominence. The age gap has allowed her to communicate in a different way with the team, citing the contrast between middle school and high school problems. This bridge built as allowed her to amplify her connection with the team, building a level of trust that may not be possible with coaches of in an older category.

"I enjoy being a positive influence on these kids, whether it be soccer and facing mistakes. How do we face adversity, do we hang our head and start fouling out of anger or find a new way to pass the ball. I'm really big on mentalilty of things, it's been really awesome to impart that idea, visualizing the next game and translate that mentality to not just soccer but life." she said, "The girls are just a lot of fun to be around. Some of them can get serious but they are a lot of fun to be around, they have good hearts and good personalities."

As a goalkeeper for in her time playing, she discussed the hurdles of seeing the pitch in it's entirety from the net. With a strong grasp of how the backline should operate to prevent unwanted advances from opposing strikers. She was a vocal keeper and kept the defense in check, when it comes to the offense she had leaned on the counsel of her coaches and the experience she received from her past from high school and collegiate play.

She praised her coaching core, lauding Coach Matthew Register and Coach Jennifer for their experience and aid in helping her warm up to the team. Carr has recently taken over the practice schedule and drills run as she has gained confidence in the position.

The Crusaders now sit at 2-2 on the year, taking losses in close bouts. When pressed about the outlook of their season, she didn't hesistate with her reply.

"I'm feeling positive about their play and I think we can pull it out. They are seeing the light and working hard to get to that point. The talent, hustle, heart and the work is there. If we play the way we can we're capable of and know how to play, I think the girls are really focused on what's next and carry on. I have a really good feeling about our play. They are not quitters and will fight through the tears, the pain, physical and mental. I'm excited to see what type of shows they will put on. The girls have learned a lot and I feel I've added a lot of real soccer knowledge, from basic to more advanced. It's gonna be exciting to watch and continue to develop."

Reach Anthony McConnaughey at amcconnaughey@clintonnc.com, X @SampsonSports or on the Sampson Independent Facebook page