The first time Paul Dinkenor, Leesville women’s soccer coach, saw a young Rachel Golden play soccer, he knew she would excel at the high school level.
“I’d seen her play as an eighth grader,” said Dinkenor. “She was clearly capable of being a starter on varsity.”
Now a senior, Golden has had a successful high school soccer career that Dinkenor believed she could have. A four year varsity starter, three-time CAP-8 all-conference selection, two-time member of the all-region team, and two-time selection to the all-state team, she has accomplished great feats over the course of four years.
With Golden on the team, the Leesville soccer team won two CAP-8 conference championships. The team also went to the third round or beyond of the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs each year she was a member of the roster.
Recently, Golden was chosen to be a member of the East team in the North Carolina East-West All-Star Game. She also will compete in the Clash of the Carolinas game, playing for the North Carolina team.
To reach the point of success that she has hit, Golden has had to work extremely hard, sometimes having to stay up late to study and miss social activities to work on her game instead.
“[Playing soccer] is a big commitment,” said Golden. “There’s a lot of sacrifices you have to make to be a good athlete.”
Her hard work definitely paid off, resulting in an opportunity for Golden to play college soccer at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Looking ahead, she hopes to bring her leadership and talent to benefit her college team.
“I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work and I’m hoping to just be a good attribute to the team,” said Golden.
However, she said that she will miss playing soccer with her Leesville teammates that she has grown so close to over the years. “They’re awesome, and Leesville soccer is definitely more of a family than other schools,” said Golden.
Golden has grown as a soccer player over four years, which Dinkenor said made her such a great contributor to the Leesville team.
“She’s grown about as far as you can go in high school,” said Dinkenor. “She is extremely loyal to Leesville Road High School.”