Photo: Southside High School senior Camryn Davis signs a soccer scholarship with Jacksonville State University on Wednesday, November 10. Pictured, sitting, from left: mom Rana, Cam, dad Dennis. Standing, from left: Hoover-Vestavia Soccer Club coach Kat Nichols, SHS girls soccer coach Tiffany Cargill. SHS track and field coach Ray Cargill. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy. Publisher/Editor
Camryn Davis is not deterred by many things, including a torn meniscus muscle that sidelined her for the fall 2021 club soccer season.
The Southside High School senior, who suffered the above injury in September while playing with her Vestavia Soccer Club team, signed a soccer scholarship with Jacksonville State University on Wednesday, November 10 at the SHS library. Davis committed to JSU in November of 2020.
“[The injury] is most definitely not a setback,” said Davis. “If anything, this is just another bump in the road, challenge for me. I’ve gained a stronger mental aspect from that, and I’m planning on coming back stronger and being better than I was before.”
Following surgery on September 21, Davis is in a 12-week recovery period and should be medically cleared when school soccer practice begins on January 18.
Since her eighth-grade year, Davis scored 36 goals and distributed 35 assists in 75 varsity games. With Davis starting at the center midfield position, the Lady Panthers were the state runners-up in 2019 and state semifinalists in 2021 and 2018. The 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Davis was named Team MVP the past two seasons and made the 2021 Class 6A All-State second team and was the All-Messenger team MVP. She was first team all-area in 2019, 2020 and 2021. She also participated in the AHSAA North/South All-Star soccer game in July in Montgomery.
“I’ll forever be grateful for my family and my parents for putting in all the time and effort to help make me the player that I am today,” said Davis. “They’ve always pushed me to be the best I can be, which means so much to me. I couldn’t have done any of this without them.”
Davis had her eye on JSU when she was a ball girl for the school’s soccer team in elementary school.
“After being on the [JSU] campus and experiencing what it would be like to be a JSU student and athlete, I thought it was a great choice,” said Davis, who is considering exercise science as a major. “I fell in love with the environment and the location of the school and could see myself playing there and making an impact on the team. I really liked both of the [JSU] coaches, and I wanted to be a part of that program.”
Davis pointed to SHS girls soccer coach Tiffany Cargill as her role model.
“I’m so thankful to have Coach Tiffany as my coach and for her to be such a big part of my life. She saw potential in me at a young age and helped me develop so much, both on and off the field. She ignited a passion in me to succeed by pushing me outside of my comfort zone. She guided me through the recruiting process and got me to where I am today. I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without her, and I’m truly honored to be following in her footsteps at Jacksonville State.”
“Cam is an is an all-around team player who is very conscious of her team dynamic and is a facilitator for each position on the field,” said Cargill. “She looks to score but her mindset is to collectively achieve attacking success, so she pattern-plays a good bit and looks for assists.
“Today is a manifestation of all the hard work that Cam has put in for so many years. I’m very grateful to be a part of her success and I’m very proud of her. Today is not only a victory for Cam but also for her parents and everyone else who supported her dream. Although this is an athletic signing, we can’t forget the fact that Cam is a phenomenal student who currently is holding a 3.8 GPA. Her classroom achievements go hand-in-hand with her athletic ability.”
Davis also earned varsity letters in cross country, track and field and basketball. She won the Etowah County Schools cross country championship during her eighth grade, freshman and sophomore seasons.
“Cam used to run three or four events at a meet and then go play in a soccer game, or vice-versa,” said SHS track and field coach Ray Cargill. “I appreciate the sacrifices her parents made in driving her all over the place. Cam has been an instrumental part of any team that she’s been a part of, and I understood completely when she decided to focus just on soccer starting in her junior year. I appreciate all that Cam has done at Rainbow Middle and Southside, She’s a great role model for a lot of kids.”
“Cam is the type of person I want on my team, first and foremost because of her character and the way she builds up her teammates,” said Hoover-Vestavia soccer coach Kat Nichols. “If someone is struggling on the field, Cam is the first person that picks them up and encourages them. Even though she is hurt and can’t play this fall, you can see the impact Cam has on the team just by being there. I know that’s she’ll make a great impact at Jacksonville State.”
Davis also played for Bill Martin’s Gadsden-based Alabama Rush in 2018 and 2019.
A prime example of Davis’ dedication came during the spring season of her freshman year in 2019, when she and her dad Dennis traveled approximately 1,000 miles in the space of three days between the Class 4A-5A soccer state playoffs and the Class 5A state track and field meet in early May. On Thursday, Davis competed in the 3200-meter run, finishing ninth out of 17 runners, followed by a seventh-place finish in the 1600-meter run the following morning. Following that race, Cam and Dennis immediately drove to Oneonta High School for the Southside girls soccer team’s third-round playoff match. Davis made it on time and started in the Lady Panthers’ 4-2 victory that qualified the team for the Final Four.
Immediately following that game, Cam and Dennis headed back to Gulf Shores, where Cam won the third-place bronze medal in the 800-meter run on Saturday morning.
“That was a really big [soccer] game, and it meant a lot to my team that I made it back to play,” said Cam. “We ended up winning, which was really, really good. As for the state [track] meet, I had told myself that I would finish on the podium, and I did it with a PR.”
Davis and her SHS soccer teammates have a specific goal for the upcoming season.
“We really, really, really want to win state,” she said. “We’ve come so close in the past, and we really think that this year is our year.”