London lands last-minute offer from Co-Lin

Published 10:28 am Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Vicksburg High soccer player Raven London signed a letter of intent to play at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Vicksburg High soccer player Raven London signed a letter of intent to play at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

When she was on the soccer field, Raven London was a veteran player who didn’t make a lot of mistakes.

When it came to the recruiting process, however, she did almost everything wrong.

The Vicksburg High senior waited until late in the game to reach out to coaches. She hadn’t taken the ACT until this semester, and didn’t play in the select leagues that could have given her more exposure.

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When a tryout at Hinds Community College failed to result in an offer, she figured her soccer career was finished. Luckily, that assumption was wrong as well.

Last week, London signed her letter of intent with Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Former Vicksburg High coach Karen Carroll said “It was probably the last available scholarship in Mississippi,” and London was happy to snatch it.

“I wasn’t handling my business as I should have, as a senior. I didn’t reach out to anyone,” London said. “Toward the end, I was like, ‘I wish I had done this or that.’ It all ended up coming together.”

London was a six-year starter for the Missy Gators. She started her career as a forward, then moved to midfield and finally to defense. Her last position has been her best.

She helped Vicksburg hold eight opponents to one or zero goals this season as it won its second straight division title. She also scored three goals and had three assists.

Defenders often toil in obscurity, but London said she knows she’s a better defender than offensive player and prefers preventing goals more than scoring them. At Co-Lin, she hopes to stay on the defensive side of the field.

“That is my plan, to stay on defense, because I feel like I’m stronger there,” she said. “But wherever I’m useful at, that’s where I’ll play.”

London said she always wanted to play at the next level, but got a late jump on the process. Her tryout for a walk-on spot at Hinds went badly, and she’d about given up on it when Co-Lin came calling.

“I knew I was good enough to play, but I was worried since Hinds didn’t work out. I started thinking maybe I’m not as good as I think I am,” London said. “But (Co-Lin coach Junior Noel) took me in and saw the potential in me, so I’m looking forward to playing for him.”

London added that signing with Co-Lin was a great option, not just the only one.

“Co-Lin was very welcoming and felt like home,” she said. “It felt like it could be a second family and not just a team.”

And now that she’s got her chance to play at the next level, London is determined to make the most of it.

“I’m so excited. Beyond excited,” she said. “Now that I know I’m going to play college soccer, it’s a whole new ballgame.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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