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Sherwood defender Allen signs soccer scholarship

Sherwood soccer star Destiny Allen, second from left, signs with Truett-McConnell College on Friday. She is joined by, sitting from left, her father, Derek Allen; her mother, Robin Allen; her sister, Maddie Allen; Truett coach David McDowell, back left; and SCA coach Jason Schultz, back right.

Sherwood soccer star Destiny Allen, second from left, signs with Truett-McConnell College on Friday. She is joined by, sitting from left, her father, Derek Allen; her mother, Robin Allen; her sister, Maddie Allen; Truett coach David McDowell, back left; and SCA coach Jason Schultz, back right.

ALBANY — Maybe it was destiny.

It looked that way and felt that way for Sherwood Christian Academy’s Destiny Allen, who signed a letter-of-intent Friday morning to accept a soccer scholarship to Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga.

Allen had already made up her mind to attend Truett-McConnell on her own, but when she visited the campus the head of the education department told soccer coach David McDowell that a soccer player was on the campus interested in the school.

“I had already talked to a couple of girls from Sherwood,’’ McDowell said Friday morning. “So I called (SCA coach) Jason Schultz and asked him about Destiny. They were having the Sherwood Invitational Tournament the next week, so I came to see her play.’’

McDowell didn’t get to see much. Allen’s brother was getting married that day so she played only 30 minutes and left for the wedding.

“I only got to see her play for 30 minutes, but that was more than enough,’’ McDowell said. “She looked like a college player. There are two differences to look for between high school players and college players — the speed of play and the physical part of the game. She has both. She doesn’t mind going after a player, and she plays the ball with quickness. What I really liked about her is that when she gets the ball she does something with it.’’

Allen is as tough as they come, a hard-nose, gutsy player who ignores the fact that she stands at about 5-foot-2 and is tiny (her shoe size is a diminutive size 6). She simply goes after bigger and more physical players and beats them with skill, cunning and toughness.

She plays sweeper and is a big reason Sherwood has 18 shutouts this season. Those are just some of the reasons she became the first girls soccer player to earn a college scholarship in more than five years.

“She’s the whole package — academics, character, work ethic,’’ Schultz said. “She’s such a hard worker and she reads the game really well. And she’s physical. She’s only 5-2 but she’s a very physical player for being as small as she is and gets right in there against bigger girls.’’

Allen is more than just a force on the field. She is a rare five-year starter at SCA, where she has been one of the captains for three years.

“She’s a leader,’’ Schultz said. “All the girls look up to her. When we had our senior night, a lot of the younger girls were in tears. She will be missed.’’

As tough and competitive as she is on the field, Allen is just as sweet and genuine off it it. She is a devout Christian who not only excels in the classroom but shines there. She has a 3.94 GPA and plans on majoring in early childhood education with a minor in missions.

She’s serious about being a part of missions work, and has already made two mission trips to Uganda. She didn’t have to think twice about going to Truett-McConnell, a Christian college with everything she wanted — and soccer.

“It’s a Christian school and I really wanted to go to school there (before I was offered the scholarship),’’ she said. It’s where I wanted to go, and now I can continue to play soccer. The Lord’s hand was in this. I loved the school. It’s a beautiful campus. It felt like home when I visited there.’’

Allen didn’t start playing soccer until she was in seventh grade and started for SCA’s varsity as an eighth-grader. She made a name for herself on the field — and off of it.

“I can’t say enough about her character,’’ Schultz said. “She’s got a great heart for people.’’