By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Chelsea Ferrell entered the 2017 TSSAA Soccer season achieving her longterm goal of becoming a captain for the Millington Lady Trojans.
She joined her fellow senior Magan Lippin in that leadership role for Head Coach William Carter’s Lady Trojans. Ferrell would later share another honor with Lippin on Feb. 22 when the girls signed their national letters of intent in the Millington Central High School Library to join the first Dyersburg State Lady Eagle Soccer team.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her,” Chelsea’s mother Mary Nails said. “This is a very proud moment. She played basketball in elementary. She played rugby. And she’s played soccer since her freshman year.
“I did not see soccer getting her here,” she acknowledged. “Apparently I did not see it, but those two did Coach Carter and Coach Luttrell.”
New Dyersburg Head Coach Robert Luttrell joined Nails, Carter and Ferrell for her signing ceremony. Luttrell noted he spotted Ferrell’s versatility with speed, field awareness and size as assets he wanted on the new Lady Eagle squad.
Luttrell coached against Ferrell and the Lady Trojans with their rivals the Covington Lady Chargers. Covington won the District 15-2A title and reached the 2017 Class 2A State Tournament.
Ferrell couldn’t imagine her play against Covington left a positive impression that would land her on a college soccer team.
“I honestly had no idea I was going to play soccer in college,” Ferrell acknowledged. “Coach threw me the idea saying, ‘Coach Luttrell is looking for people to play. He’s interested in you.’
“It’s unbelievable,” she continued. “He actually gave me a compliment after our game saying that I was really fast. The fact that he remembered that makes me feel pretty good.”
Luttrell starting the Dyersburg program has kept him busy on the recruiting trail. He landed a Munford Lady Cougar in Morgan Self. Luttrell snatched up a couple of Brighton Lady Cardinals with Lillian Williams and Savannah Dickerson.
“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 Chelsea he has seen with her the past two seasons she’s a versatile, all-around player,” the Lady Trojan leader continued. “I played her at forward her junior year and defensive mid this past year. She can pretty much play any position on the field and elevate every other player around her on the field.”
Ferrell said she tried to uplift her teammates during action on the field and away from the pitch.
“My team is like my family,” she said. “I was glad I got to lead them through the years. I hope that they’re happy and that I did a good job.
“(Being captain) I wanted it ever since I started in the ninth grade,” Ferrell added. “I worked toward it and always thought when I am in the 12th grade I want to be captain.”
Now the girl with the free spirit has a chance to develop a new bond when she joins the Lady Eagles.
“She’s probably been independent since the third grade,” Nails said. “She has done everything for herself. She’s going to be a leader because she’s very strong willed. It’s a perfect fit.”
Next step for Ferrell is being a part of the first Dyersburg State Lady Eagles.
“I’m glad to represent my school in college,” she concluded. “I represent myself as independent. I’m glad that I worked hard to get here. I always do things my own way. I’m ready to soar and take off.”
Luttrell was chosen to lead the Lady Eagle Soccer in their inaugural season. Dyersburg will be a member of the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
By Thomas Sellers Jr.