By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Usually when a person makes history, they credit hard work, determination and encouragement from those close.
Erik Furseth is no different. Last Thursday in the Munford High School Library he made history with the stroke of a pen. When Furseth signed his national letter of intent, he became the first Munford Cougar Soccer player to do so.
The icing on the historic cake was the school, The University of Memphis Tigers. Munford Head Soccer Coach Richard Selby said it was clear Furseth had Division I ability early in his prep career.
“His freshman year you saw he had something special,” he recalled. “He started every game his whole high school career except one. To go four years as a varsity starter is something special. The team has gotten better every year in the process.”
By the time teammates and family joined Furseth for his signing day, the Cougars were 4-0 in the young season. In 2013, Furseth led the Cougars with an MVP performance in the Best of the West Tournament and to the Regional Semifinals. The two-year captain has been a leader vocally and by his example.
“He’s the one who worked,” Selby said. “He’s the one who put in all the time. He’s the one who comes down to the field and faces shots all the time. He’s a young who, you run into kids all the time that tell you what they’re going to do. He’s one who does it. Erik is going to be the one you see out there doing the job.
“I tell kids all the time, ‘If you want something, you’ll find a way,’” he added. “‘If you don’t you’ll find an excuse.’ He has no excuses. He found a way.”
Guiding Furseth along that journey has been his parents Steven and Rebecca. Wearing his Tiger Blue shirt with a gray designer tie, Steven said he was, “beyond pride.”
“He’s made the right choices and listen to us,” he said. “Which is what a lot of teenagers don’t do. We’ve taught him hard work, commitment will take you some place. And ulitmately it did.”
Erik has lived in different places like Washington state and Louisiana. Soccer remained consistent in his life. Once the Furseth family moved to West Tennessee, Erik’s big brothers Hayden and Hunter played for the combined Brighton/Munford team.
While his brothers played for the Cardinals, Erik was narrowing down what he would pursue as an extra curriculum activity in high school.
“Today is kind of beyond words because this is what he wanted since middle school,” Rebecca recalled. “He was given his options at middle school. He also played football and was in the band. We told him he couldn’t do them all. So we knew which one he took, he would give it his all. And we’re really excited he choose soccer.”
When Erik made that choice, he gave 100 percent to the game from the Cougars to his competitive team the Rush Lobos.
“He’s sacrificed a lot, doing the extra things other kids do like going out at night,” Rebecca said. “It’s been soccer practice the last four years between high school and competitive ball.”
Steven said being a goalie for two successful programs has made his youngest son a better man.
“It has taught him humility, leadership being the captain two years in a row,” he noted. “Being the keeper is naturally a leadership role anyway. It has taught him the ability to work well with others and how to teach others.”
Erik said it was others believing in him that inspired him to pursue college soccer.
“Probably my freshman and sophomore years when I started getting both the high school coaches at Munford and other coaches we played saying I had something special,” Erik recalled. “And a lot of my competitive coaches said I should take it to the next level because I have what it takes.
“All the hard work has finally gone toward something,” he continued. “All the hard work I put in I can look back on it with this.”
Erik said family and coaches played huge roles in him making Munford Soccer history. But if it wasn’t for his teammates, Erik said signing day wouldn’t have been possible.
“It’s nice for the program because the program has only been around for five years,” he said. “It can really jump the program into everyone’s head. You’ve already got five kids who are signing to play college soccer.
“It’s nice that the people who brought it up this far have been playing together the past seven years,” Furseth concluded. “Just coming up with everyone, friends you play with them or against them, I got a chance to do it with the people I started it all with.”