Batson trains with top soccer aces
Avery Batson, 14, a Huntsville Futbol Club (HFC) player, was invited to U.S. Soccer Training Center, which mirrors national team camps.
Batson, an eighth-grader at Discovery Middle School, traveled to Suwanee, Ga. on Feb. 8 to the center, which offers single-day, invitational training sessions for elite players by U.S. Soccer staff.
When Batson arrived at the Suwanee center, she felt nervous at first. “As we went through drills and mini games, I felt comfortable,” she said. “I realized I’ve been playing this sport for a long time. There was no need to worry.”
In training, she spoke with U.S. National Coaches, including Karen Hoppa, U.S. National Region III head coach and Auburn University women’s head coach.
At six years old, she started playing with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), then Lady Freedom Club, HFC, along with guest plays for Birmingham United Soccer Association and Elite Clubs National League. She also pursues the Olympic Development Program.
Batson usually plays center midfield, left forward or back. “I try my best to play different positions,” she said.
Soccer appeals to her for its high intensity. “I love contact sports. Although I’m not the biggest girl, I’m known to be aggressive. When I was younger, a friend, Andrea Goodwin, nicknamed me Wolverine,” Batson said.
She gave basketball and T-ball a try, but those couldn’t compare to soccer. “I love learning new moves and practicing my juggling,” she said.
A native Madisonian, Batson attended St. John the Baptist Catholic School for grades K-6. “My parents and I decided it would be great to try the public school systems like my siblings. I truly love Discovery and the staff,” she said.
Her parents, Paul and Joung Batson, work as a materials engineer and certified public accountant, respectively. Avery’s siblings are Sydney, a Bob Jones High School senior and Zachary, a Calhoun Community College student.
In 2011 at Discovery, Batson received the Top 5 and Duke University TIP awards. A straight-A student, she earned the highest grade in life science. She belongs to National Junior Honor Society and Students Against Destructive Decisions.