Dec. 14—LUMBERTON — It's a nine-hour drive from Lumberton to Keystone College in La Plume, Pennsylvania. But when Lumberton senior Mia Brayboy visited there, she felt at home.
On Wednesday, she signed to play college soccer for Keystone.
"It was really homey for me; literally the second I got there I was welcome," Brayboy said. "Everybody accepted me really fast and I met so many new people. It felt literally like I had already been there."
The Giants compete in NCAA Division III in the Colonial States Athletic Conference. The chance for an opportunity away from home was a plus for Brayboy.
"I've always really wanted to leave, and I think that's the perspective of most athletes in Robeson County; you just want to get away and I'm glad to say I'm one of the athletes who was able to get away."
The Pirates defender/midfielder scored 11 goals with eight assists last spring; both totals led the team with more than double the next-best player.
"She's a very versatile player, well-rounded," Lumberton coach Ethan Freeman said. "She's able to play multiple positions. She works hard, she's a hard worker. They're getting a pretty good overall soccer player."
Brayboy had multiple offers from other schools, including programs in NCAA Division I and Division II and the NAIA.
She's relieved to get the chance for a senior season this spring free of the burden of the recruiting process.
"I really just wanted to make a point that even without my senior season, I made it," Brayboy said. "I did what I had to do. All of my hard work really paid off."
Chris Stiles can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @StilesOnSports.