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Chloe Howard made quite a splash in her first season with the Greenfield School varsity girls soccer team this past spring. The seventh-grader set a Lady Knights single-season record with 52 goals, but that is now likely to be her career total as well.
Howard was selected to play on the North Carolina Courage Development Academy U14 girls team, which her former Greenfield coach Randol Mendoza describes as “N.C.’s No. 1 team for her age.”
The Courage, the National Women’s Soccer League frontrunner, head the female side of North Carolina Football Club, which is the product of the 2017 merger of two of the largest clubs in North Carolina Youth Soccer Association — Capital Area Soccer League and Triangle Futbol Club Alliance.
Howard is understandably excited about the honor.
“I’m really excited about it because it’s my dream to play D-I soccer in college so I think it’s just going to be a step towards pushing me to my goal,” she said.
However, the honor comes at a cost as Howard will have to give up playing for Greenfield, where she also played volleyball and basketball. It’s a sacrifice the daughter of Elizabeth and Don Howard of Wilson is prepared to make.
“We understand it’s a huge sacrifice but also a big honor,” her mother said. “We support her in following her dreams & look forward to the level of training she will receive.”
Elizabeth Howard pointed out that Mendoza, who stepped down as head coach at Greenfield this spring, was instrumental in getting Chloe a tryout for the Courage Development Academy team.
“Chloe’s record-breaking season is what I used to get their attention,” he said. “But the young lady is goal oriented and self motivated. She is constantly working on her weaknesses.”
As a scorer, Howard didn’t seem to have many weaknesses in her first season playing for Greenfield. She was fourth in the state in all divisions in goals scored, per MaxPreps.com, and in the top 10 overall in points (goals and assists). Howard was the only middle school player ranked in the top 50 in points.
Seemingly a natural scorer, Howard said scoring and “putting the ball in the net” is what she loves to do. Howard scored a pair of goals to help her 2005 North Carolina team win a match as she earned honors at the U.S. Youth Soccer Region III Olympic Development Program camp in Alabama last week.
Howard and her Development Academy teammates will report for practice for the 2018-19 season in the first week of August. She said the 10-month program will run until December and then resume in January and last until July.
Most of the games will be played in Raleigh, Elizabeth Howard said, but there will be trips to Georgia and Florida for showcases.
Chloe hopes her experience as part of the N.C. Courage Development Academy will help her realize her goal of playing for the North Carolina Tar Heels in college as well as an even more ambitious objective: Playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team on the ultimate stage.
“I want to go to UNC but I also want to go to the World Cup someday,” she said.
KNIGHT SWITCHES TO NC STATE
Southern Nash High rising senior Zonovan Knight, who decommitted from Duke in May, finally made up his mind about his college choice Monday when he announced on his Twitter account that he would attend North Carolina State.
Knight, a three-star recruit, should be one of the top running backs in the state this fall. He’s run for more than 3,000 yards so far in his Firebirds career.
After he tweeted May 21 that he was withdrawing his commitment to Duke, Knight posted on Twitter that he had received scholarship offers from several more schools, including North Carolina, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Purdue.
However, the Wolfpack, who offered Knight back in January, continued to recruit him. Knight is part of an impressive haul of in-state prospects who have given verbal commitments to N.C. State and head coach Dave Doeren this spring and summer.
WILLIAMS RESURFACES AT FRANKLINTON
While there are no new head football coaches at teams in The Wilson Times readership area, 3-A Big East Conference member Franklinton made a splash last week by announcing that Jimmy Williams would come out of coaching retirement to guide the Red Rams this season.
Williams will replace JeVar Bransome, who took Franklinton to a 4-7 overall record and a 1-4 mark in its first season in the Big East last fall.
Williams was most recently the athletic director at Clayton High after stepping down as the West Johnston football coach. He spent 15 seasons as the head coach at East Wake.