DeBien chosen as all-state member
by SARALYN NORKUS Banner Sports Writer
Dec 03, 2013 | 1102 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CLEVELAND SOPHOMORE MIDFIELDER Sam DeBien was recently named to the Tennessee High School Soccer Coaches all-state girls soccer team. Banner photo, SARALYN NORKUS
CLEVELAND SOPHOMORE MIDFIELDER Sam DeBien was recently named to the Tennessee High School Soccer Coaches all-state girls soccer team. Banner photo, SARALYN NORKUS
Fresh off of Thanksgiving break, Cleveland Lady Raider soccer player Sam DeBien found herself with another reason to be thankful.

The sophomore midfielder learned Sunday she had been named to the Tennessee High School Soccer Coaches Association girl’s all-state soccer team.

“It was definitely surprising because I did not see that coming. My dad read the article to me and I was like ‘Wait, I won all-state?’ He read it to me again and it was just very cool,” DeBien exclaimed. “I’m obviously honored, but soccer is a team sport, so I can’t take all of the credit. All of the girls (on the team) helped me win this.”

Cleveland has not had a girl on the Tennessee coaches all-state team since Emily Jones was named in 2009.

In the Lady Raiders’ overall 12-9-1 season, a total of 47 goals were scored. Twenty of those came from DeBien, who also had a total of 12 assists.

The Cleveland girls ultimately saw their season come to a close following a tough 1-0 Region 3-AAA semifinal loss to Cookeville.

DeBien was named to the all-region first team as well this season.

“She leads by example on the field. She may not know that, but other players watch her and she teaches those players the things to do,” head coach Andy Byrd commented. “I couldn’t be more excited for her and her success.”

The numbers put up by DeBien in the 2013 season were quite an improvement from her first year on the varsity. During the 2012 season DeBien finished with a total of 12 goals and three assists.

“I think the difference this year was the fact that we had a better team this year and I improved. I switched club teams to FC Alliance (Knoxville) and that has made me a better player,” DeBien explained. “There aren’t that many people in high school who play club ball. I do, so I’ve got that experience to use to my advantage.”

According to Coach Byrd, club experience can be a make-or-break factor for most high school teams.

“If you’re going to be competitive at the high school level, the majority of your girls have to play club soccer. The teams that we play that have good, quality teams have kids that play year-round soccer,” Byrd commented.

Another factor that can be credited for DeBien’s success on the pitch is the support and encouragement she receives from her parents.

“Before every game my dad always gives me a pep talk. He helps me out so much, and just helps me prepare. My dad is the person I go to when it comes to soccer,” DeBien explained. “My mom drives me up to Knoxville once a week for club soccer and sometimes on the weekends.”

For DeBien, the 2013 season was enhanced by many factors.

“This season my favorite thing was just being with the girls,” DeBien stated. “We had a lot of fun out there and they were really good role models for me.”

According to DeBien, a senior Lady Raider and a Lee University forward stand out when she thinks about who her soccer role models are.

“I have two role models for soccer. That’s Kenzie Harris from our team and Summer Lanter, who plays for Lee. I really look up to the way they play,” DeBien commented.

Being a part of the Lady Raiders team that defeated Soddy-Daisy 2-1 for the first time in 12 years was another shining moment.

“We [CHS girls’ soccer squads] hadn’t beaten the team in 12 years, and having the experience of finally beating them was awesome,” DeBien proclaimed.

Knowing that her team will be missing a wide array of various talent and experience next season, DeBien plans to step up to a leadership role.

“I plan on taking a leadership role and helping out the less-experienced girls on the team next year,” DeBien said. “I’m going to miss the girls from this year and the level of play they brought to the team. It’s going to be more difficult next year, but we’re going to do it.”

Ultimately, DeBien aspires to go pro in the sport she loves.

“I love playing soccer and I always will. I would love to be a pro soccer player in the future. When I’m out there I just have fun touching the ball, dribbling it and being with all my teammates,” DeBien stated. “On the field, I forget everything and I’m just out there doing what I love.”