By Thomas Sellers Jr.
With flowing blond hair, a glowing smile and glasses on her baby doll face, Magan Lippin could blend in the crowd at Millington Central High School on any typical school day.
But when she put on her NO. 3 Millington Lady Trojan jersey, the defensive force Head Coach William Carter depended on emerged to take down the competition.
“We affectionally call her The Beast,” Magan’s father Eric said. “ The defensive side of soccer, she loves playing defense.”
Magan’s love of defense earned her the attention of new Dyersburg State Lady Eagles Head Coach Robert Luttrell. The man who will lead the first soccer team in Dyersburg history made the trip to Millington Feb. 22 to sign a pair of Lady Trojans — Lippin and her fellow captain Chelsea Ferrell.
While Ferrell’s spot on the roster is to be determined, Luttrell is eyeing the defensive side for Lippin.
“I know Coach Luttrell quite well and I was excited when he told me he was going to get the job up there at Dyersburg State,” Carter said. “And he’s a good developer of talent.
“With Magan it’s pretty obvious,” he continued. “She has locked down that right defensive corner back there. I believe she was the first one I got a verbal commit that she would sign.”
Lippin said when Carter reached out to her about playing soccer in college, she was blown away at the chance.
“I got a text from my Coach one day saying, ‘Do you want to go play soccer at Dyersburg?’” she said. “I just took it as a risk. ‘Hey, yes, that sounds fun.’
“Does he have the right girl?” Lippin asked herself rhetorically. “Does he have the right person? He’s a very nice coach. I’ve seen the way he has helped Covington out. So I think it’s great. I think he’s going to get along with me and I am going to get along with him.”
Luttrell led the 2017 Covington Lady Chargers to the District 15-2A championship beating Millington along the way in the league. Covington reached the 2017 Class 2A State Tournament.
Once he took the Dyersburg job, Luttrell had a list of girls who either played for or against him he wanted. Lippin was on his roll.
“We’re extremely proud,” Eric said. “Her mother Sherri and I are so proud of Magan. Magan’s determination and love of the game has gotten her here today. She been that way academically and with the sports. She’s been playing since she was old enough to play. She’s always loved the sport.”
Lippin grew fond of was controlling the defensive line and becoming a leader for the Lady Trojans.
“I would knock them down but help them right back up,” Lippin recalled of practices. “I was a captain here as a senior. I would always knock them down, pick them up and tell them, ‘You know I’m just doing this because I am on your team. I’m not trying to hurt you on purpose.’
“The term Mother Hen comes to mind,” she said of her leadership. “I felt like I was the big mom of the group. I took responsibility over them like they were my kids. I feel like I’m leaving my children behind. I’m just happy because I know they’re going to be in a good place as I leave.”
Eric said those bonds and life lessons with the Lady Trojans will carry over to Dyersburg.
“It’s the love of her team, love of her school,” he said. “That position doesn’t get a lot of credit. But it does make a big difference when you defend your own goal. She made a big difference out there. She was determined to make that part of her team better. It’s a team effort and that’s how she looks at it. She’s not out for glory.
“Very proud (Coach Luttrell) wanted her,” Eric added. “She’s really determined to make him proud. She’s very excited about that Dyersburg has called her to play for them.”
Lippin said being tough on the field will be easier than trying to find her way once she enters college and collegiate athletics.
“Change is always hard,” she said. “Some are easier than other. But I know this is going to be hard because I’m going into real life at the same time playing an extreme sport. This is the first team at Dyersburg. I’m extremely happy and proud to be on this first team.
“I’m just like mind blown — like out of the sky,” Magan concluded. “I’m so happy I get to be a part of history. I’m close to home and I get to walk around like, ‘Hey, she’s a part of the Dyersburg Soccer team.’”
Eric is happy his daughter and other girls will have a platform to continue to play the sport they love while pursuing an education.
“I’m appreciative of the school wanting to start this program and make them — the first athletes of the school to play soccer,” he said. “That’s an amazing beginning for the long career she has had. Puts a dot at the end of the sentence for the soccer career she began at 3 years old.”
The Lady Eagle Soccer will enter their inaugural season in 2018. The Lady Eagles will be a member of the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
By Thomas Sellers Jr.