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The adage “good things come to those who wait” was a consistent theme during the college recruitment process of Tabb senior Leah Tyson
While Tyson, the reigning Conference 19 Player of the Year and first-team All-State selection in girls soccer, saw her teammates committing to Division I schools, she chose to bide her time and let the entire process play out.
That process came to a satisfying end for Tyson, who committed to the University of South Carolina Upstate – a Division I school that competes in the Atlantic Sun Conference – toward the end of August after visiting the campus for the first time in July.
An aspiring nurse, Tyson had her mind set on attending a college with a quality nursing school. Tyson was considering schools like George Mason, James Madison University, William & Mary and American University, but did not want to pick a school simply because of the soccer programs.
When USC Upstate initially reached out to Tyson, she was less than receptive and admits to “brushing them off” in the beginning. However, persistence from Abby Minihan, USC Upstate’s women’s soccer coach, eventually forced Tyson to take notice of the school.
At the suggestion of her mother, Tyson made a six-hour trip to visit the campus located in Spartanburg, South Carolina and fell in love with the campus almost immediately.
The nursing school at USC Upstate specifically stood out to Tyson, who called the program the “best in South Carolina” after laying eyes on it for herself.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I got there,” Tyson said of the university. “I went on a tour of the nursing school, which was state of the art and phenomenal.”
While on campus, Tyson spent time with players on the women’s soccer team and had the opportunity to experience a team dinner the night before a game.
During the dinner, Tyson saw the lighthearted atmosphere around the team as her future teammate engaged in a dance-off. The dinner, Tyson said, showed the team she would be joining is a tight-knit family.
After spending the night near the campus, Tyson went to a game the next morning before heading home. While Tyson left campus without a scholarship offer, Minihan told Tyson the ball was in her court before she left the campus.
Within two weeks of visiting, Tyson contacted Minihan to inform her future coach she intended to verbally commit to USC Upstate. Later that night, Tyson received her official scholarship offer.
Tyson is unsure of where she will play under Minihan’s system, but said she is open to playing whatever position helps her see the field soonest. Being able to come in and influence the team immediately was a big motivator for the Tabb forward.
“They’re trying to build their program up and the coach has made some great changes. I feel like if I go in there in shape I can make an immediate impact as soon as I go there in the fall,” she said. “That’s what I’m really excited about.”