Attention Getter: LCS Freshman Bri Folds Leads County in Scoring
Wed. January 09, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | By Polk Preps Staff
LAKELAND CHRISTIAN FRESHMAN soccer player Bri Folds leads Polk County girls soccer players this year with 45 goals and 42 assists. Caption1 (Photo by Ernst Peters | The Ledger)
By BILL KEMP
LEDGER MEDIA GROUP
LAKELAND | Bri Folds is short, shy and could easily go unnoticed in a room full of people. But put her on a soccer field, and all the attention is on her.
The Lakeland Christian freshman is electrifying the Vikings girls soccer team this season just months after stepping onto her first varsity playing field. She's also leading Polk County players in goals (45) and assists (42) – and by a wide margin.
"Coming in, I knew she was going to lead the county in goals," Lakeland Christian head coach Jason Streets said. "And because of her unselfishness and humility, the girls on the team have just really embraced her. Everybody loves her and loves playing with her."
Folds started playing soccer when she was 4, and she's been riding a wave of success ever since.
"My dad got me involved, and I thought it would be pretty challenging," Folds said, who has a regulation soccer goal planted in her backyard.
The 5-foot-3 14-year-old has been a member of the Florida Olympic Development Program state team for the past two years and is among the 28 finalists for U.S. U-15 national pool team to be announced later this year.
"The level of the national team is something she has never seen," Streets said. "When she got a chance to go out there and be a part of those three camps, she got a chance to play with girls who are like her. All of that just pushes her to get better. She's just thriving on it right now."
LCS reached the Class 1A state semifinals last year, before dropping a 6-2 game to eventual state champion St. Johns Country Day. But with Folds added to the mix, the Vikings have soared to a 20-1 start this season, and talk of a title shot is surfacing.
"The one thing we were lacking last year was help up top. And that's what she brings," said Streets, who set a career-scoring state record at LCS during the 1990s. "It was up in the air where she was going to go (to high school), and heading into that final four, it was in the back of my mind. Who knows what would have happened (had she been on the team)."
Last year, LCS reached the final four on the strength of its defense with the Vikings only scoring 105 goals. But with two games still remaining on the regular-season schedule, LCS has netted 134 goals.
"Last year, we defended really hard and really well," Street said. "But now we have a true scoring threat up front with Bri, and Sidney (Rayborn), too. Our defense doesn't have to work as hard."
Rayborn, a junior forward, is second in the county in scoring with 28 goals and 19 assists. She said the addition of Folds has made her life easier on the playing field.
"I was man-marked a couple of games last year," Rayborn said. "But now if they man-mark me, Bri is wide open. If they man-mark Bri, I'm wide open."
Rayborn also said the Vikings players have embraced the fact a freshman is making such an impact.
"They're very welcoming, and why not? She's bringing our team to the most successful we've been," Rayborn said. "I just think as a whole we just love her being there, and I think she loves being here as well."
Though Folds doesn't talk much, she is thinking about the postseason.
"I think we can win it all," Folds said.