Although she will graduate early from high school, Gate City soccer standout Anna McClung will leave the Lady Blue Devils as one of the most prolific goal scorers in Virginia High School League history.
Even without playing her senior season, McClung ranks first in the VHSL record book in goals scored in a season with 65. She is also second with 62.
For her career, McClung ranks third overall in the VHSL with 127 goals. She also has the most goals scored in a game with seven and is second and third overall in points in a season with 137 and 132, respectively.
“I never thought about the records,” McClung said. “The experience of playing for my school was the motivation. It really changed my high school experience. It made me feel more a part of the school.
“I’ll miss playing my senior season, but the program is in good hands,” she added.
On her 16th birthday, McClung verbally committed to play her college soccer at Florida State. On Monday, Nov. 12 she will officially sign her commitment papers to FSU.
“I feel like I’ve been a part of the school for the past two years,” McClung said of the Tallahassee, Fla., university. “Each time I visit the campus, I get more excited. I can’t wait to get there.”
Graduating next month from Gate City and enrolling at FSU in January was not that difficult a decision for McClung.
“Of course I will miss my high school teammates,” she said. “But when my college coach suggested I come in early and train with the team in the spring, I knew it was the right thing to do.
“It will give me time to adjust to college life,” added McClung, who qualified and played for the national under-18 team last spring. “And I can get a leg up on competing with college players.”
Recently, Times-News executive sports editor Pat Kenney caught up with McClung and got her thoughts on a few off-beat questions.
Who is your favorite athlete and why?
Mia Hamm. She really made it possible for girls like me to be on national teams. And it was a cool thing was that I got to meet her this past summer. She is a great role model for young women.
What is your favorite movie?
“Kicking and Screaming.” It’s a soccer movie and it’s pretty funny.
What is your best athletic memory?
When I look back, I think about working out with my dad. He always had plans for me. Soccer was a great bonding experience for us.
What is your worst athletic memory?
I have two. When I was 11, I went to an Olympic development camp in Virginia and saw that I couldn’t keep up with the other players. I knew right then I had to work harder and get much better.
Later, when I was being evaluated at a tryout for the national team, and I thought I’d really played well, I didn’t get picked. It was a heartbreaker. But I made it back and eventually qualified.
Those were both eye openers and made me realize how hard you have to work to be at the top level.
In a movie made about your life, who would play you?
My mom because she knows me so well.
If you hosted a dinner party and could invite any three people, who would they be?
Lionel Messi, Michael Jordan and Hope Solo. That would be an interesting group.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I would like to be invisible. Sometimes it might be good to know what other people are saying about you.
Do you have any superstitions?
Most definitely. I always put my left cleat on first. I also have a book of quotes and take it to major events. Even if I don’t read them, I feel like the book brings me good luck.
What about a nickname?
Anna Banana is something I hear a lot.
What advice do you have for younger players just starting out in the game?
I would tell them that hard work and determination are everything. Sometimes you buy into what others want to do, but the only way to get better is to always strive to get better.