A year ago, PineBeltSPORTS published that more dominant soccer was on the horizon for Sumrall’s Caragan Childs.
That prediction reigned true as Childs put together another season in the books that helped earn the honor of PineBeltSPORTS Girls Soccer Player of the Year for the 2019-2020 season.
“It’s just an honorable feeling that people are out there watching me and telling me and showing me that I can be a great player,” Childs said. “I’m so blessed and honored to be named Player of the Year.”
According to MaxPreps, Childs’ 38 goals was ranked as the second-most in the state. Entering the season, Childs only goal was to help the Lady Bobcats make it past the first round of the 4A playoffs, which was the furthest the program had been able to go.
“As a team, we all had a goal to make it past the first round of the playoffs,” Childs said. “That’s obviously been our goal since I have been at Sumrall. My personal goal was to just help the team to achieve our main goal.”
Childs and the Lady Bobcats achieved that with a 2-0 win over Richland in which she scored both goals in that game.
However, Childs proudest goal came against Vancleave in the second round of the playoffs. After a scoreless game in regulation, Childs scored late in overtime to give Sumrall a 1-0 lead.
“We were in overtime, and we had tied the whole game,” Childs said. “We went into overtime, and everybody was pretty exhausted, and I just remember everybody being so tired.”
Despite, the Lady Bobcats falling short against Vancleave, the goal, for Childs, was a culmination and an illustration of Sumrall’s appreciation for its soccer program.
“The moment I scored the goal, the whole crowd and fans went crazy,” Childs said. “All of Sumrall heard the stands. It was honestly one of the best sports moments in Sumrall in a sports game I have ever been to. Even in football, people get rowdy but everyone was just so excited. It was the best feeling. (We felt) we’re here and we have come this far, and we just scored this goal.
“At that moment I felt that Sumrall soccer was that next level of soccer. People respected it so much more than it had been respected before and realized that Sumrall soccer was big and that we were doing big things.”
Childs scored in all but three games this past season while also recording 14 assists. However, Childs gives a large amount of credit to her coach Todd Siders.
“Coach Siders is one of my favorite coaches,” Childs said. “He brought this Sumrall soccer team from kids that never even knew how to play soccer, and he was there every step of the way. No matter if things were bad or good, he was always encouraging us to do better. He built the program up to the next level.
“He wasn’t only a soccer coach. He taught us life lessons and brought us all closer together and made us a family. He’s a great coach and a great person too.”
Childs will go on to play at Jones College but has a future goal of playing at a four-year school.
“It’s always been my dream and goal to play at a college level,” Childs said. “I’m very blessed that I was able to sign with Jones. I hope to play for four years because that’s a goal of mine.”
While Childs is grateful for her accomplishments her biggest hope is that her high school career will inspire future players in Sumrall.
“For me, I also wanted to inspire others in Sumrall,” Childs said. “If you work hard enough then you can get to where you want to go. I hope that if they want to play collegiate soccer and work hard, they’ll be able to do it too.”