COVINGTON, Ga. — Few players in the county, regardless of grade or experience level, boasted the kind of production Eastside freshman Aralyn Everett had in her first year as a high school player. Her team-high 28 goals scored was second in the county only to girls player of the year, Kaliya Eutsey from Alcovy. She also tallied 11 assists and showed herself a consummate team player.
In our Q&A with the All-Covington News 2018 girls Freshman of the Year, you’ll learn more about Everett, the professional players who motivate her, the things she learned from her first year in high school and her outlook for the future of her talented, young Eastside team.
STOVALL: As a freshman playing at such a high level and scoring so many goals, what do you think was the secret to you having the kind of season you did as a varsity 9th grader?
EVERETT: “I wouldn’t say there are any secrets, just a level of trust we have all established within each other. The success from the season has come by me having the confidence in my skill level to even play with upperclassmen and against any other teams. Also, really having the confidence and trust in my teammates.”
STOVALL: How long have you been playing soccer and what or who got you interested in the game?
EVERETT: “I have been playing soccer since I was three, so for 12 years. However, I remember really falling in love with the game at the age of five. I would have to say, my mom was really who got me into the game. She played soccer up into college and was an excellent player. I have always looked up to her, so when I play I feel as if I’m playing through her. I play because I enjoy the game and to make not only my mom, but my whole family proud.”
STOVALL: What do you feel like was your biggest highlight this season? And what do you think was your toughest challenge?
EVERETT: “I would have to say that my biggest highlight was also my toughest challenge. It was our game against Druid Hills and we were the underdogs. I remember we were all nervous and excited at the same time. I was nervous because I wasn’t feeling the best and, I wanted to make sure I was able to play my best. I knew this was the game we proved ourselves and played our best game. I remember, it was the second half and the score was 2-1, us. Druid Hills had the ball and was pushing towards our defense. Our defender, Mckenna Walker, stole the ball and played a beautiful pass up the field. It was just ahead of me and a Druid Hills defender. I remember running as fast as I could, dribbling to goal, and just as the keeper came out, slotting a ball to the right hand corner. I remember our midfielders Lauren Gates and Kyli Greer jumping on me and hugging me and our whole team was so happy to be back up by two. We ended up winning that game 3-1.”
STOVALL: In what ways did seniors like Madison Morvik and Camille Johnson (as well as Coach Singleton) help you acclimate to the high school game?
EVERETT: “All of our seniors helped acclimate me — as well as my other teammates — to the game by trusting us to play with them and establishing a bond with all of us. I would have to say that everyone on our team has each other’s back. We not only share a love for the game, but we also share a love for each other. We trust each other’s skills and know what everyone is capable of doing on the field. The seniors knew this the most and really allowed us, especially the freshman, to show what we were capable of and how we could work well together as a team. Coach (Joel) Singleton, pushed us all to be better than we started. He believed in us and really pushed us to work harder and to trust each other. A team cannot work well without trust and he showed us that. He is an excellent coach and we wouldn’t have been able to go as for as we did without his guidance, as well as the guidance and support from Coach Smith.”
STOVALL: Do you have a favorite player or someone you try to pattern your game after?
EVERETT: “Yes, I have a few favorites, actually. I love Messi, Ronaldo, and Pelé. I also look up to Mia Hamm and Alex Morgan. They all share a love for soccer and proved it through their play of game. They are all amazing players and I hope to, one day, play if not on the same level as them, on a higher level.”
STOVALL: What did you learn most from your first year playing high school soccer, and how will you spend your summer getting better?
EVERETT: “I learned that I have to continue to work hard. With hard work and dedication, anything is possible. You just have to trust the people around you and trust yourself. Push yourself to be the best player you can be. Don’t let anyone outwork you and you have to fall in love with the game. Over the summer I plan to go to several camps, work with a trainer, and train with my club team. I am attending several ID camps, along with the UNC-Chapel Hill camp, Vanderbilt camp, as well as a few others.”
STOVALL: With so much young talent on this team, how high do you feel like your team can climb in the next several years?
EVERETT: “I feel we will be able to climb very high. We have some amazing upcoming talent that will be huge assets and I have hopes that we will win not only a region championship but a state championship in my remaining years of high school. I know more records will be broken each year and our talent will continue to rise. Our seniors set a foundation to build upon, and I have no plans in letting that foundation crumble. The only option for us is to go up from here.”