SL's Candace Pierce signs with Cape Fear CC
South Lenoir’s Candace Pierce, seated center, committed to Cape Fear Community College Thursday to play soccer. Sitting next to Pierce is her stepmother, Elizabeth Pierce and father, Michael Pierce, and standing is, from left, South Lenoir soccer coach David Whaley, athletic director Lisa Smith, Pierce’s brother Zach and South Lenoir principal Steve Saint-Amand. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
DEEP RUN — One of the most prolific soccer scorers in the Eastern Carolina 2A will be a Sea Devil next season.
South Lenoir’s Candace Pierce committed to Cape Fear Community College Thursday, looking to bring her strong play to Wilmington next season. Pierce has scored 75 goals over the past three years, including 21 this season as the Blue Devils are currently 9-3 with a chance for an even better season than 2018, when the team won a school-record 10 games.
Pierce, who is currently undecided on what she’ll major in, said she believes Cape Fear was the right fit for her.
“I had different schools and opportunities, but Cape Fear was the school that stood out,” Pierce said. “It isn’t too far from home and I enjoyed my time on campus, along with the coaches and players. I’m excited about having the opportunity to play here next season.”
Blue Devils coach David Whaley said Pierce has been a great asset to the team during her career.
“She shows plenty of leadership qualities, doing it by example,” Whaley said. “She comes to practice every day on time, plays hard and helps out her teammates. One example of that leadership came last year when she was in an auto accident on the same day we had a road game against West Craven.
“I didn’t think she would make it, and she beat us to the field.”
Pierce also scored the only goals of that game, a 2-0 victory on April 20, 2018.
“Candace has a bright future in soccer, and she never wants to let her teammates down,” Whaley said. “She’s got tremendous support from home and I wish her the best at Cape Fear.”
Michael Pierce, Candace’s father, coached her for most of her career prior to South Lenoir and said his daughter is fulfilling a childhood dream.
“Her goal was to always play soccer in college,” he said. “She’s played the game since she was 5 and for any parent, you’re happy to see your child make it to the next level and achieve.”
Elizabeth Pierce, Candace’s stepmother, said she knows there will be success in the future.
“I’m really proud of her and I hope she continues to follow her path,” she said. “I know she’ll work hard at Cape Fear as she did here at South Lenoir.”
Zach Pierce, Candace’s brother, played soccer at Barton and said he’s ecstatic for his sister.
“I showed her how to play the game and I know it’s going to be a great experience for her,” he said. “It’s cool to know that we started from playing in the backyard to her having the chance to play in college.”
Candace Pierce said the future of South Lenoir will be in good hands next year and beyond.
“We’ve improved so much over the years and the team we have will continue to get better,” Pierce said. “We helped make South Lenoir a good program and I think the best is yet to come.”