DAVIDSON – Ashlynn Serepca is drawing national attention for her soccer skills, heady stuff for an eighth-grader. She didn’t have to search hard for advice on how to handle the spotlight.
Serepca, 13, attends Davidson Day, where her dad, Dave, is a football coach. Their family is close to the Grier family, which includes Chad (Davidson Day’s head coach) and Will, a quarterback who has been under national scrutiny several years.
So the pass-thrower who finished high school last month sat down with the girl who is still a few months away from beginning high school.
“His leadership is something that’s always going to help you in anything you do,” Serepca said. “He told me to work hard. Be competitive. Do what you’re able to do. Don’t be nervous.”
It wasn’t lip service. Serepca has been around Grier a long time. She occasionally works out with Patriots football players. Lifts weights with them, too.
Serepca plays on Charlotte Soccer Academy’s U-14 Elite Clubs National League team. She’s set to attend her second national camp.
Serepca, an attacking midfielder, next week is headed to the U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program National Training Camp in Phoenix, Ariz. She’ll compete against, and be coached by, some of the nation’s best talent.
“I think it’s going to be challenging for me, but since I’ve already experienced one, I think I can come in more comfortable, not be nervous and do what I’m capable of doing,” she said.
Serepca also attended the ID2 National Training Camp in New Jersey last November. She was among 52 players invited from 35 club teams for the four-day camp.
“It was a great experience,” she said. “I had never been to one. The (talent) level the girls were at was great, it really challenged me. Made me work harder. The coaches were great, too.”
Serepca said she learned to be thrown into a new position, and to be ready to play anywhere at any time.
“Ashlynn was one of only six 2000 birth year players in a group dominated by 1999’s, which is awesome for the future and shows that she is able to compete at a camp of that level with older players,” said ECNL director Nathan Williams. “Ashlynn is a model player for all of our young players to follow, and her competitiveness and work ethic in games along with the quality of her training habits are two of her biggest strengths.”
Her career launched at about age 4, when she played in a “3 and Easy” league. Serepca took to the sport immediately. She moved through the club soccer ranks and by ages 8-9 was a star.
“I love playing,” Serepca said. “I’ve always loved going to practices. I was always competitive. I am very competitive. That was the sport I decided I wanted to do with my life.
Serepca grew up playing sports with and against older brother Joel (a freshman) and his friends. Her dad coaches football, so it’s an athletic family.
“It helps, especially with my dad being a coach,” she said. “He pushes me and makes me work hard.”
Sometimes, Dad’s football mentality takes over when he’s in the stands.
“He’ll scream on the sideline,” Serepca said. “I have to tell him `Dad, there’s a football voice and a soccer voice.’
Dave Serepca laughs, and admits that happens sometimes. But he’s getting better.
“She wants to win more than anything,” he said. “It’s been a neat process. I just try to tell her the little things I’d tell my (football) players, and get her with good coaches and clubs. We love watching her compete.”