Caroline “shows ’em what girls do”

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Kevin Aiken, 12, participates in the tryout Saturday at Hamlet Memorial Park for a new Under-13 soccer team headed by Eric Edmondson.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Kevin Aiken, 12, participates in the tryout Saturday at Hamlet Memorial Park for a new Under-13 soccer team headed by Eric Edmondson.

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HAMLET — Caroline Whitley eventually wants to get to the point where people don’t worry about her gender and instead focus more on her talent level on a soccer field.

But the world isn’t there yet. Coach Eric Edmondson, a 14-year Rockingham resident and former UNC-Pembroke soccer player, closed Saturday’s tryouts for a new Under-13 team by noticing Whitley’s skill level.

“Way to show e’m what girls do out here,” Edmondson said of Whitley, among the tallest of six players to participate in the first of two weekend tryout sessions at Hamlet Memorial Park in Hamlet. The goal is to recruit and train between 12 and 14 players for the travel team that begins practice next month and opens tournament play in September. The season will last through mid-November and include opponents from Southern Pines, Fayetteville and Jamestown. If a partnership with Hamlet Parks and Recreation works out, the team could host a couple of home games, too.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Austin Campbell, 10, works on dribbling during soccer tryouts Saturday in Hamlet.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Austin Campbell, 10, works on dribbling during soccer tryouts Saturday in Hamlet.

Play will break in November and resume in February.

On Saturday, Edmondson was out to see what the players are made of. He wants to see not necessarily their soccer skills but the intangibles.

“I’m looking for good, coachable kids,” Edmondson said. “You can teach the soccer part.”

On Saturday, six athletes ranging from 10 to 12 years old took to the pitch at 10 a.m. to go through a number of individual and team-oriented drills, including dribbling, passing and kicking for about an hour — that was enough with the number of players and, besides, the sun came out from behind the clouds less than halfway into the tryout.

The six players work well together under the supervision, guidance and encouragement of Edmondson and volunteer assistant David Erwin. Most of them know each other. Whitley is related to the coach’s son, Ethan Edmondson. Ethan picks on Caroline mercilessly. Caroline shrugs it off — and dishes back whenever possible, even in a post-tryout interview.

“I’m used to it,” she said. “I play baseball (with boys). You get used to it after spending time with Ethan.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Ethan Edmondson, 11, is more than the pitch clown. He's also a skilled 11-year-old soccer player.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Ethan Edmondson, 11, is more than the pitch clown. He’s also a skilled 11-year-old soccer player.

Ethan sees his role as class clown. On and off the field, the Rockingham 11-year-old keeps everyone loose with an ever-present smile an a ready quip — even if it’s not time for one.

Do you feel extra pressure, being the coach’s son?

“Yes,” Ethan said. “I’m kind of responsible to be the leader. If I goof off, everyone else will think they can goof off, too.”

Do you goof off?

“Yes,” he said unapolegetically.

For more information about the Aug. 2 tryout, call Edmondson at 910-995-7266.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Caroline Whitley, 11, of Rockingham, breaks away from cousin Ethan Edmondson, left, and heads towards the goal.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Caroline Whitley, 11, of Rockingham, breaks away from cousin Ethan Edmondson, left, and heads towards the goal.

 

 

 

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