Photo: Southside High School rising senior Hallie Kate Smith participated in the AHSAA North-South All-Star girls soccer game earlier this week in Montgomery. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger file photo)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Hallie-Kate Smith represented Etowah County well this past week in Montgomery.
The Southside High rising senior was a starter for the North team in the AHHSA North/South All-Star girls soccer game, registering an assist in the North’s 2-0 victory at Emory Folmar Soccer Complex last Tuesday (July 17).
“I’m just glad that I got to experience it, because not many people do,” she said. “There’s so much [soccer] talent in this area, so to be picked for this game was really special.”
Smith assisted on a goal by Madison Academy’s Emery Mills in the 71st minute.
“I got a pass from the outside back up the left side, and I dribbled the ball a little bit and sent a long pass to [Mills], and she turned and got a good shot off,” said Smith.
Chelsea’s Lexie Duca scored the first goal of the match five minutes into the second half. The North out-shot the South by a 21-14 margin. The victory upped the North’s series record to 14-2-1.
Smith knew several of her teammates through either high school or club soccer games.
“I’ve played against four or five of the girls since I was about eight years old. It was nice to play with them rather than against them for once.”
Smith and her teammates arrived in Montgomery on Monday and participated in an afternoon practice. On Tuesday morning, she and her teammates visited a local YMCA and held a soccer clinic for area youths.
As a center-midfielder for Southside, Smith helped the 2018 Lady Panthers go 17-2-1 and qualify for the state Final Four for the second straight year. She was named to the All-Etowah County first team and the Alabama High School Soccer Coaches Association Class 6A All-State se-cond team.
Smith has been a member of the Southside varsity since she transferred in from Gadsden Middle School to Rainbow Middle during her eighth-grade year. She began playing soccer at age four and eventually began playing for the local Fusion F.C. club teams for the spring and the fall seasons. She played for the Vestavia Soccer Club last year but will return to Fusion this fall.
“I decided that since this was my last year, I wanted to enjoy it with my friends that I’ve played with my whole life,” she said.
Smith is undecided about whether or not to play soccer at the next level. She already has a scholarship offer from Judson College in Marion.
Smith has been juggling athletics, academics and employment for the past two years. In addition to being a standout on the soccer field, she maintains a high GPA and works part time at Top O’ the River in Gadsden.
“It was kind of hard to juggle all of that at first, but once you get into a routine, you learn what to prioritize, which for me is school work, then work and then soccer. It’s hard at times when your friends are out and you want to go do things, but that’s just how it is.”
After reaching either the state semifinals or state championship game the past two years, Smith and her teammates are focused on bringing the first-place trophy back to Southside and Rainbow City this coming season.
“Absolutely,” she said. “That would be ideal, and it’s the goal for everyone. We’ll have a lot of seniors this year who have played together since we were freshman, so we’re hoping that we can make it all the way.”