Gilmore Signs With Southern Mississippi

Gilmore signs with Southern Mississippi after scoring the second-highest number of goals, with seven, in the 2021 season


Maya Gardiner, Staff Reporter

Next year The University of Southern Mississippi will be receiving a new member to their soccer team. Senior Grace Gilmore has been playing soccer ever since she was five years old and is about to take it to the college level. 

Getting an offer from a college athletic program is a big deal, and when Gilmore got her offer she was ecstatic.

“It’s definitely exciting. Really at the end of the day it just proves hard work does pay off,” Gilmore said.

After looking at a lot of schools, including the top 25 and the smaller divisions, USM’s family atmosphere sealed the deal for Gilmore. Going into her freshman year as a student athlete, Gilmore is ready for a big lifestyle change.

“At the level of soccer I am at now, we work hard and practice everyday, but it’s not necessarily at the level of a college athlete,” Gilmore said.

For Gilmore, taking soccer to the college level means taking something that you’re passionate about and turning it into a job that you’re passionate about. Throughout her journey, Gilmore has had a lot of support from her coaches.

“My coaches just aided a lot in pushing me on and off the field,” Gilmore said.

Getting noticed by a recruiter isn’t easy, but luckily for Gilmore her whole team was able to get attention.

“When I play, there are like a hundred coaches on the sidelines, so my team got a lot of exposure, and I was able to use that exposure to aid in the process of joining a more competitive program,” Gilmore said.

The pandemic has slowed down many things these past two years, one of them being the recruitment process. According to Gilmore the pandemic made it really difficult to scout student athletes. Gilmore’s personal experience with being scouted was especially challenging.

“For soccer you become eligible on June 15, and the dead period was extended until April, so I wasn’t able to visit schools. I wasn’t able to go on visits,” Gilmore said. “I was allowed to receive offers, but I couldn’t visit them, so it was hard to make a decision on a school without seeing the full picture.”

Even though Gilmore’s experience with finding the right college for her was a bit rocky, she can’t wait for what is to come. Rather than being anxious, she is mostly just excited. 

Gilmore gives advice for the next class of student athletes who will have to go through the recruitment process. 

“Utilize the digital resources. If you have film, send film, update your coaches, and really just be constantly in their inbox.”