Hampton’s Joyce to play college soccer

Thursday, December 6, 2018 | 9:27 PM

Sammy Joyce is a team player. Naturally, she was looking for a college choice that had a strong team dynamic.

Joyce, who agreed to play a more defensive role for the better of her high school soccer team in its run to the state playoffs, recently signed a letter of intent to continue her soccer career for the IUP Crimson Hawks.

“I didn’t mind moving back because I know I can play anywhere,” Joyce said. “I wanted to help the team. I knew not many were fit for that position.”

Joyce was an integral part of a Talbots soccer team that made it further than any of its predecessors since 2008.

“Even though I like forward, it gave me a new perspective on what each position has to do. It taught me the importance of center backs and was a great learning experience going into college,” she said.

IUP coach Adel Heder sees Joyce starting in a more defensive role.

“I think she’s going to play defense for us this year,” Heder said. “She has speed and knows the game very well. She does well on one-on-one situations.”

Joyce has played soccer since her early years, when she took her brother Jacob’s jersey and played in the back yard.

That same number (47) she still wears today as she also plays year-round for the Allegheny Force FC coached by Thomas Louisy, whom she cites as a major influence.

“It all started with Thomas,” she said. “He trained me a lot in the summers. … From there I’ve really developed as a player. My skill set has just grown, and I’ve learned the dynamics of soccer.”

Joyce, who has been playing year-round since age 10, remembers her first coach fondly, her dad, Martin. She also has an established chemistry with current Talbots defender Riley Obringer from her elementary school days.

“A lot of the juniors this year were a part of my early journey,” she said. “That’s when I started playing with Riley. It’s crazy to think that’s how I ended this season, playing with her.”

Heder was impressed with what he saw from Joyce in club play.

“I watched her play at AFFC,” he said. “I was impressed. She can play in any position. Outside mid, inside. … I told her, I’d like to have you here, do you want to commit?”

Joyce was also considering offers from Seton Hill and Penn State Behrend.

“It appealed to me more than the other schools because of the strong team dynamic,” she said. “The size of the school was much more fitting. I also like the distance. I wanted to be far away, but not too far.”

Devon Moore is a freelance writer.


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