Christine Harris commits to play at Averett University

April 25, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) freshman Christine Harris surprised several teams in Region X this past fall. She hopes to do the same later this year in the USA South Conference.

Harris is the latest PHCC women’s soccer player to commit to a four-year school this academic season, continuing her education and athletic eligibility at NCAA, Division III Averett University in Danville, Va. In one season with the Lady Patriots soccer team, Harris left an impact that is expected to continue at the next level.

“I have two years of eligibility left and will be playing (at Averett) for two seasons.” Harris said. “I plan on going out there, working hard and finding my fit with that team … I’m a little nervous because I know it’s a little different competition, but I know they’re excited to have me come play for them.”

The striker led PHCC in all three scoring categories with 15 goals, 14 assists and 44 points over 20 games. She accounted for 27 percent of her team’s goals and 29 percent of its points. She also directed a team-high 51 shots on goal out of her 75 attempts.

Harris had a career game Sept. 12, 2015 when she factored in all six goals of a 6-3 win over Wake Tech, scoring a career-high four goals, to go with two assists. She also scored important goals in a 3-1 win over Cape Fear a 2-2 draw with USC-Lancaster. Her performances helped earn her All-Region X honors.

Averett will receive a player that is capable of changing games while presenting a quality scoring option at the top of the formation, said PHCC coach Larry Wylie.

“Christine was a pleasant surprise that walked on to the team,” Wylie said. “She brought an aspect of speed, physical play, and a nose for the net that had a great impact on our side this past season. I believe that Averett is getting a player that can make an immediate impact, and I look forward to following the remainder of her career.”

Harris originally transferred to PHCC from Danville Community College, and will head back to Danville to play for a team that won just three games last season. The Cougars scored 22 goals in 16 games in 2015, with two top goal scorers that had six apiece — two fewer than Harris had by herself. Both players return as Averett features a large junior class and host of underclassman.

The D-III school approached Harris at the end of the fall season with heavy interest. Other schools from the conference, such as Ferrum College in Rocky Mount, Va., along with several others in North Carolina and Florida head their eyes on the talented forward. Harris said she kept a good communication line with Averett and after being presented with a full academic scholarship, she decided to stay close to Chatham.

Location, Harris added, played a factor in the decision as she’s relocated to Chatham, where her husband is from, after serving in the U.S. Army. Two two met in the service, as Harris passed up offers out of high school in 2005, to pursue military duty. Now, she finally gets to fulfill her soccer aspirations and settle her life down as she embarks on the next decade of her life.

“It makes it a whole lot easier where I won’t have to pay for student loans and worry about any out of pocket cost,” Harris said of the covered tuition. “I can basically just go out and play soccer and keep continuing my education in psychology.”

Harris drew Averett’s attention with her speed and ability to outrun defenders. That speed has also been on display this spring for the Lady Patriots softball team. Harris said she decided to play softball for the first time since 2003 just to try something different. Her ability to track down fly balls in center field has been a valuable component to first-year coach Robbi Campbell’s defensive structure.

“I get more nervous playing softball and I never got that nervous playing soccer, because it was more familiar to me,” Harris said. “I’m nervous to make a mistake in the outfield and plus there is a lot of ground to cover.”

The California native said she’s excited and nervous at the same to see what the next chapter of her life has in store. One thing that can be guaranteed is that it will most likely be successful.

Filed under: Women's Soccer