Gadsden City’s Roussell commits to Auburn


By Chris McCarthy/Editor

The family garage area may be worse for the wear, but Lauren Roussell and her parents will gladly accept scuffed walls and dented sheetrock as a small price for her recent accomplishment.

  “When Lauren was four all the way up until junior high, she would kick balls in the garage against the wall for hours,” said Lauren’s dad John. “It used to drive us nuts, but that’s how she developed her foot skills.”

Those repetitive drills paid off handsomely, as the Gadsden City High junior recently committed to play soccer for Auburn University. Lauren is the first soccer player from Gadsden City High to earn a scholarship for a both a Division I and Southeastern Conference team.

By this past summer, Lauren had narrowed her college choices from 12 schools to Auburn, Clemson and Arkansas. She also received an offer from Samford and Ohio University. 

Lauren began receiving interest from colleges in the ninth grade. 

“I really felt at home when I visited [the Auburn campus],” said Lauren, who plans on studying either business or sports management at AU. “The coaches and players are really nice and I really loved it. I realized when I was out in Ohio that I didn’t want to go too far from home, and Auburn’s not really far from here.”

Lauren, who currently is the 13th ranked player regardless of position in the South by Topdrawersoccer, will join an Auburn squad that went 8-9-1 in 2013 and made it to the second round of the SEC Tournament.

Lauren’s high school coach, Samantha Corker, has been directing the GCHS girls program since the school was created in 2006. Prior to that, she coached at her alma mater, Gadsden High, after attending Mississippi State on a soccer scholarship.

“Lauren’s improved every year, and the amount of tra-vel that she does and the amount of work she puts in has really made a difference for her,” said Corker. “You would think that her size might her with her being a smaller player, but she’s got great technical ability that kind of offsets that. Lauren also gets along with people, so it’s easy for her teammates to listen to her because they like her to begin with.” 

Corker pointed to Lauren’s early recruitment and decision as a factor in her scholarship offers.

“We’ve had quality players at Gadsden, but commitments in girls soccer are a lot earlier than most other sports. Recruiting starts as a freshman or sophomore. If you’re not committed by the time you’re a junior, it’s hard to get into those top programs because they’ve already have their rosters filled. So Lauren’s doing this is going to help the community see that this is a possibility for these kids and that you have to get on it early. She’s definitely put in the effort, and I’m very proud of her.” 

Lauren’s soccer career began at age the age of four with the Etowah Youth Soccer Association. She played locally under coach Billy Martin until the age 10, when she played with the Vestavia Hills Soccer Club until she reached the U13 level. 

Lauren split time at midfield and goalkeeper before moving full time to the goal when she was 14. She then joined the Birmingham United Soccer Association in order to play for Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), for which she still plays. According to its website, The ECNL is the nation’s top competitive league for female youth soccer players and is sanctioned by U.S. Club Soccer. 

“The competition level from Vestavia to BUSA was incredible,” said Lauren. “I was a really big step but one that I needed.”

Lauren’s BUSA club team literally traveled cross-country to play top national squads, including tournaments in Phoenix, Seattle and Newark, N.J. 

In the 2013 ECNL season, Lauren posted eight shutouts and allowed only five goals in 17 games. 

In addition, Lauren played on Olympic Development Program teams for four years and attended several regional and state ODP camps.

Lauren has started at goalkeeper for the GCHS varsity soccer team since her freshman year, and she and her Lady Ti-tan teammates intend to make a deep run in the Class 7A state playoffs come spring. 

“I thought we’d go farther than we did last year (Gadsden City lost in the second round), and I think this year we can go even further. We have some really good players, and a lot of us have played together since we were five years old.”

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