Sherwood Christian Academy senior Christina Charles sits between her parents, Les and Carol Charles, while signing a scholarship Friday with NAIA school Truett-McConnell College as Sherwood coach Jason Schultz, left, and Truett-McConnell coach David McDowell stand in back. (Special Photo)
ALBANY — Christina Charles was looking for a place where she could continue her soccer career and sustain her passion for missions.
Then she stepped on the campus of Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga.
“I fell in love with the team, and I fell in love with the area,” Charles said. “I was looking for a missions program on top of soccer, and that’s what Truett had.”
The Sherwood Christian Academy senior made it official Friday morning by signing a scholarship with Truett-McConnell, where she will join the soccer team this summer on a mission trip to Rwanda and then step on the soccer field in the fall as the program’s newest midfielder.
Charles has played nearly every position in her five years with the Lady Eagles, but she thrived in the midfield, where she set the single-season assist record her sophomore year with 13 and then broke it again her junior season with 14 assists.
She is the program’s all-time leader in assists and already has five goals and seven assists this season.
But for Charles, her true joy comes from assisting others off the soccer field.
“It’s not just the overseas mission trips. She is reaching out to the local community,” Sherwood coach Jason Schultz said. “She is very involved with Sherwood Baptist Church. It’s been a joy and privilege to coach Christina. She is a quality player, but more importantly she is a quality person.”
Charles is the second Sherwood soccer player to sign with Truett-McConnell in the past year, following 2013 Sherwood grad and star defender Destiny Allen, who signed with the NAIA Division II school last April.
Schultz hopes it’s the first of many more signings to come for a Sherwood program that won a combined 38 games in Charles’ sophomore and junior seasons.
“We went through a little bit of drought here at Sherwood with signings, but now this is our second in two years” Schultz said. “And I am expecting more in the years to come. We have a good team here.”
Charles’ signing was part of a busy weekend for the Sherwood soccer team, which is hosting a 28-team tournament Friday and Saturday. After Charles’ signing Friday morning, the senior had 30 minutes to celebrate with her team and family before heading to the locker room for the first of the Lady Eagles’ tournament games.
“It was fun to get all excited about college and the future,” she said. “But as soon as it was over, you have to head to the locker room and focus on your future here at Sherwood and the rest of this season with the team.”