The Class of 21: Munford’s Spence earns her way onto Dyersburg State Soccer with hard work

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By Thomas Sellers Jr.

The word has gotten out about Munford High School senior Ciara Spence.

Her scouting report as a student/athlete has high recommendations from her Principal Dr. Courtney Fee, athletic director Mike Huffman, basketball coach Steve Poindexter and soccer coach Stan Jamscek

Those praises along with her natural abilities grabbed the attention of Dyersburg State Lady Eagles Head Soccer Coach Robert Luttrell.

“Just a very dynamic player,” he noted. “She’s high intensity and tough. Extremely coachable, you ask anybody and they’ll say the same thing. I do my research on these players. ‘You’re going to love her. Great attitude and a team player.’ I think she can be a day-one starter for us. She’s a multiple sport player. She has the ability.”

Luttrell and his Lady Eagles program made it official March 25 in the MHS Cafeteria signing Spence to Dyersburg State. The two-sport standout inked her letter of intent among teammates, coaches, administration and family members like parents Sara and Rob.

“I thought it was just for fun, something to keep her busy,” Sara said of Ciara picking up soccer in the eighth grade. “Now here we are. Probably sophomore or junior year, she really fell in love with it. She started to say she wouldn’t mind playing it in college and here she is.”

Ciara noted many factors played a role in her developing a love for soccer like best friend Maiya Reed playing alongside her. This past season her younger sister Emily was there to watch how she conducted herself on and off the field.

And the guidance of coaches like Poindexter and Jamscek pushed her to be accountable as a player and student.

“Ciara was amazing and extremely valuable to the team,” Jamscek recalled. “She’s hard working, coachable and great to teammates. With her and Maiya, those two brought so much to the game – just one or two steps off. I enjoyed coaching her and working with her. Her decision to sign with Dyersburg, I think she’s going to do well.”

Ciara’s only soccer experience came through the Lady Cougars. After expressing interest in the sport in the eighth grade, she lettered four years under Jamscek.

“It’s beautiful and I’ve really enjoyed working with her,” the Lady Cougar Soccer leader said. “Once again she’s so coachable. That’s why she’s so successful because she’ll listen and then go do the work. On top of that she will support everybody else as well. It was a super journey.”

Rob said his daughter’s journey to reaching the college soccer level started on the recreation softball fields in the third grade. Like Sara noted, the seventh grade was when Ciara tried other types of athletics.

“Hard work and determination got her here today,” Rob said. “She has done it all here in these programs. She practices her core skills at home. A lot of it is she has always gravitated toward soccer as a natural sport.”

Always on her agenda throughout the school year was basketball with Coach Poindexter. Ciara noted she enjoyed playing for Coach P and learning about being a leader under his direction.

“With basketball it was more of personal choice for her saying, ‘Hey I can get better at this as well,’” Rob explained. “Where soccer came more natural to her. It was the hard work and dedication that kept her going all the way through her senior year.”

Spence had some highlights on the hardwood like her three-point barrage at Millington a couple of seasons ago. She also has solid achievements academically.

“I’ve heard great things about her in the classroom,” Luttrell said. “The classroom is just as important as the soccer field. That’s how you keep these players around. Her work ethic is off the charts. I want that and who wouldn’t want that as an employee, colleague, family member.”

With Spence fitting the prototypical frame, speed and ability Luttrell desires in his program, he said she has a shot to see action in year one.

“I’m looking for her to jump right in,” he said. “The thing for us is every year it’s like you almost start over. It’s just a two-year program. I have 10 sophomores and then 10 freshmen. You need 11 on the field and then everything is open for competition. If you’re outplaying a sophomore, good for you because you’re going to play.”

Rob said knowing the scouting report on his daughter from day one, if an obstacle is in Ciara’s way she will knock it down.

“Ciara is very headstrong,” he concluded. “She doesn’t take no easily. It’s almost the mindset of ‘I’m going to show you and prove you wrong.’ She likes a challenge.” 

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