By VAN HOLLAND
Tarboro Lady Vikings soccer phenom Shayla Thorne has added another accolade to her credentials. She was one of 19 players selected to play in the Powerade State Games on the 2013 East women's team.
She won't be the only one from Tarboro participating in the state games, because Tarboro coach Leshaun Jenkins was also named the head coach of the women's East team.
"It's an honor to be named the coach of a showcase event like this," Jenkins said. "I am deserving of this and I am honored to have one of my players on the roster who also is very deserving to play in the event."
Jenkins is excited about being a part of the showcase event that will take place June 22-23 at Wingate University. Each team will play two matches. The winner of the first two matches will play each other for the gold and silver medals the second day. The losers of the first two matches will in turn play for the bronze medal.
The event will showcase the top sophomores and juniors in the state and will play in front of college scouts and coaches.
"It's going to be a good event to be a part of," Jenkins said. "There is going to be a lot of talent on all four teams from this state."
Thorne and Jenkins both are very deserving. Jenkins has won his share of matches as a soccer coach and has built the boy's and girl's programs into powerhouses. He carried the girl's team tot he playoffs for just the second time in as many years and won a share of the conference title this year.
Thorne on the other hand has broken records in women's soccer at the school and has made a name for herself. She holds the single season scoring record at the school after the impressive junior season that she had this year.
Thorne will be playing against some tough competition, but with her speed and athletic ability she will be one of the top players in the event.
"These teams are loaded with a lot of talent," Jenkins said. "The East team that I am coaching has a lot of depth and I have players who come from well respected programs. The girls I selected to be on my team come from schools with rich soccer traditions and they have great knowledge of the game."
Jenkins is very excited to have Thorne on his roster. He said he told Thorne that it is going to be totally different from the soccer she is used to playing.
Thorne is used to playing an entire 80 minute match, but Jenkins told her it may be different, because she will be playing against and with a lot of talented players.
"Everyone is talented in their own right and there will be a lot of substitutions," Jenkins said. "I think it's going to be a great experience for Shayla though because it's giving her the chance to play at the next level and show others how good she already is."
Thorne has made a name for herself already. She led the Eastern Plains Conference with 40 goals this season, which was more then any team had all season combined.
She was recently named the Regional Player of the Year and was named the Vikings Most Valuable Player at the recent banquet. She also made All-Conference for the second year straight.
"I am sure Shayla will make us all proud," Jenkins said. "She has the qualities to be one of the best on the field those two days. Even though she is still learning the game she has lots of talentsto showcase."
Thorne is a dynamic player, who possesses great skills in the open field against her opponents. She has the ability to drive towards the goal on one-on-one opportunities and score. She isn't afraid to rip shots at the goalie either.
Thorne scored at least one goal in 13 of the Vikings 16 matches this season and had one match where she scored six goals and had two assist.
Jenkins said Thorne hasn't reached her full potential just yet. With one more year to go before she ends her Viking soccer career next season, she still has more goals in mind that she wants to accomplish.
"Shayla is still learning the game," Jenkins said. "But when she does reach her full potential and learns how to be a dominate player she is going to be even better then what she is now."
Thorne wowed the Viking spectators and their opponents many times this season. She would have breakaway chances with one defender and a goalie to beat, and with her speed she blasted by them and found the back of the net.
Thorne enjoys playing the game and said she has team and individual goals that she wants to accomplish, but before she does that, she will go to the state games and make a name for herself against some of the best talent in the state.
Jenkins said with the selection, it just goes to show how much hard work and dedication they have put into their program to make it a respected one.
Jenkins was also selected to coach the East/West men's soccer match in July.