Photo by Rob Upton
Nation Ford soccer player Rayna Simmons will be heading to USC-Lancaster to play soccer after finishing her high school career with the Falcons.

FORT MILL – A switch in sports at a young age has paid off for Nation Ford soccer player Rayna Simmons.

                Simmons, 18, was a gymnast at an early age, but then about age 9 she started getting interested in playing soccer. About a decade later, that interest is helping her land on the team at USC-Lancaster.

                “I would always go with my brother when he played baseball at the park and I would see other kids on the soccer field, so I thought that would be fun,” she said.

                Simmons was on the varsity squad at Nation Ford for the past two years after transferring from Olympic High in Charlotte, where she went to school her first two years.

                Around 3-years-old, Simmons started training in gymnastics, but after about six years in the sport, got bored with it.

                “I like being able to go to a field and play with my teammates,” she said.

                Simmons plays at both the forward and midfield positions and isn’t sure where she will be playing in college. She likes playing the forward position more due to her athletic skill set she said.

                Before choosing USC-Lancaster, Simmons also talked with Coastal Carolina, UNC-Wilmington and Queens University, but like the feel of a close fit at home. It also helped that she knew the USC-Lancaster head coach Kenny Halas pretty well. Halas also coaches the Nation Ford boys’ soccer team as well.

                “The coach reached out to me,” Simmons said. “I knew him from high school so I thought that it would be a great fit.”

Mac Banks:, @fortprep