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Munford Soccer spark plug Hill takes his talents to Lincoln

By Thomas Sellers Jr.Jaylen Hill cutout Jaylen Hill signing teammates

Built like a track athlete with the speed to match, the dreadlocked Munford Cougar in the middle of the action for the past four years isn’t hard to miss.
But what he brings to a team might be easily be overlooked. Jaylen Hill is not the top scorer on Richard Selby’s team. He’s usually the guy who sets up the assist man.
Hill doesn’t stand 6-foot, 5-inches tall like teammate and Memphis Tiger signee Erik Furseth stopping opponents shots. Hill is  normally the guy keeping the ball from getting into Furseth’s box.
“He battles,” Selby said of his senior leader. “I’ve seen games where we were down and he never gives up. That’s what’s going to make him successful at Lincoln Memorial.
“You go look at their roster, they’re full of kids from Colombia and England,” he continued. “And then you’ve got a kid from Munford High School about to go in and play with these guys. He’s going to show them where his talent level is. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to be successful there.”
Hill signed his national letter of intent last Thursday in the Munford High School Library to play soccer for the Lincoln Memorial University Railsplitters. The signing marked the second in program history. On hand were teammates, coaches and Jaylen’s parents Janice and Roderick.
Janice noted her son grew up playing all types of sports like T-ball, football, basketball along with soccer.
“He played all those sports,” she recalled. “He drew closer to soccer as he got older. He just loves running. We saw him running all over the place so we kind of knew it was going to be that.”
All the running, practices and games with Munford and club team the Bartlett Falcons helped Hill reach his dream of playing college soccer. Lincoln Memorial is located in East Tennessee and is a part of the South Atlantic Conference.
“I’m happy that he’s happy,” Janice said. “It’s where he wants to go. We visited the campus and it’s a beautiful campus. So we’re happy with his choice.”
Roderick noted his son was a hot prospect because of his physical skills and the mental approach he brings to the game.
“His strongest ability is his foresight, being able to see the play before it happens,” he said. “He can get the ball in position to where somebody else can get it and make something happen.”
Jaylen has made good things happen on and off the field at Munford High School. While leading the Cougars to improvements each season, Hill has played for the award-winning Munford Band and became part of Mu Alpha Theta.
“Jaylen Hill has been an awesome young man for Munford High School and me,” Selby said. “It’s been most enjoyable to be able to coach him. He’s a kid who can play any position. It doesn’t matter whoever you put him up against, he’s going to prove to you he can shut them down or beat him.”
Hill said so many phases of soccer motivated him over the years to improve his mind and body. But the senior defensive midfielder said the biggest thing the game has brought him is lifelong friendships.
“All the hard work I put into this has paid off,” he said of his signing. “It’s just something that captivated me about the soccer and ball and how it just brings people together. It’s just captivating. You have to play it.
“It’s amazing that I get to impose my playing style on everyone,” Hill said of joining Lincoln Memorial. “And they get to impose theirs on me. It will be a mixture of styles come together.”
For now Hill’s main soccer concern is taking the Cougars to new heights. On the day of his signing, Munford was enjoying its best start in school history at 7-0. Selby said in the middle of all the success has been Hill.
“With me being called the heart and soul of the team, it’s my teammates inspiring me,” Hill concluded. “I see all their hard work and I know I have to step up my game because I want to take this team to higher levels.”

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