Phillips, a four-year starter for the Cartersville girls soccer team, found just what she wanted with Reinhardt University and agreed Wednesday to take her soccer skills to the next level for the Lady Eagles.
Chad Murray, head coach, said Reinhardt’s newest member is a gifted soccer player who is especially effective on the defensive side of the ball.
“Anna is a very good soccer player with great touch on the ball and a unique ability to handle the ball and make great passes,” Murray said.
He said Phillips makes a major contribution to the Lady Canes’ offense, too, noting she is leading the team in assists this year.
Murray said she makes the team better offensively even though her name isn’t often used as a scorer.
“Most people look to the number of goals a player scores to evaluate that player,” he said. “However, most forget that it normally takes an unselfish pass for anyone to score.
“Her unselfish play, plus knowledge of the game that comes from many years of playing club and school ball, is what Anna brings to the team.”
Phillips is one of the most experienced players on the Cartersville team.
She has played club soccer 12 years, advancing through recreational, academy and Athenia levels of soccer. She finished her club soccer playing on a SSA U19 A1 level team within the Georgia State Soccer Association.
At Cartersville, she plays the center mid position. She is a captain on the team and received the coach’s choice award for 2012 and 2013.
Phillips gives credit for her success to her grandparents, Billie and Jack Fleming, who she said have always been there to support her.
The Lady Cane said she also has benefited from having good coaches in club and high school. She said two of her favorite club coaches are Eric Gentilello and Lorenzo Canalis, who coach the Berry College women’s soccer team.
Phillips said she received five offers and interest from a number of other schools in her soccer skills.
She said she chose Reinhardt after meeting with a professor of graphic design, meeting with head coach Andy Kaplan and spending time with the soccer team.
She noted Reinhardt, which plays in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, won its conference championship last year.
The Lady Eagles ended their season in the NAIA Women’s Soccer Opening Round, falling to No. 6 Embry-Riddle. Embry-Riddle’s season ended with a loss to Concordia (Ore.), in the quarterfinal round. Concordia eventually won the championship.
Other members of the conference include Truett-McConnell, Tennessee Wesleyan, Montreat and Columbia.
Murray believes some of her best soccer playing days are ahead of Phillips.
“My hope for Anna is she takes her competitive spirit to the next level and continues to work hard to improve her game,” the coach said. “We here at Cartersville will look forward to watching her succeed in this next step of her athletic career.”