BEAUFORT — Emy Cloutier has turned one of the best careers in East Carteret girls soccer history into a full scholarship to Catawba College.
The senior will matriculate next fall to the up-and-coming Division II program.
“My family was happy I got a full ride,” she said. “We’ve spent a lot of money on soccer.”
Cloutier said she started attending soccer summer camps in the eighth grade, and that continued last summer when she visited the UNC-Charlotte camp. Catawba coach Nick Brown was there and encouraged her to attend his program’s camp.
“It was the next weekend, and so I drove up to that camp, and he pulled me to the side after one of the sessions and gave me an offer,” Cloutier said. “I thought about it for a couple of weeks, and I knew I needed to make a decision, so I committed in November.”
She will join a program on the rise.
After going 17-31-6 overall and 11-19-2 in the South Atlantic Conference during a three-year stretch, Catawba has gone 24-10-3 overall and 12-5-3 in the league over the last two years with back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament.
Cloutier is confident she will see immediate playing time with the Indians.
“I feel like I will actually play,” she said. “I don’t want to go to a college and not play my freshman and sophomore years. I don’t like sitting on the bench.”
Playing time hasn’t been an issue for Cloutier in her three varsity seasons at East.
She scored 18 goals and dished out nine assists as a freshman, went for 21 goals and 18 assists as a sophomore and put up 19 goals and 12 assists last season for a career total of 58 goals and 39 assists.
“This was something I expected because of the level she’s played at in high school,” East coach Antonio Diaz said. “Her level of physicality, how athletic she is, and she’s very versatile – she can play many positions. Those are all qualities colleges are looking for.”
She has played left back, sweeper, wing and forward and excelled at each.
“She has played pretty much everywhere,” Diaz said. “She has a great understanding of the game. She is very fast. She is aggressive enough to play defense and fast enough to play offense. Her shooting is good too.”
Cloutier, who also shines in cross country and track and field, is notable for her cardiovascular shape and speed, running up and down the field in electric fashion without ever taking a break.
“Colleges look at how in-shape players are,” Diaz said. “She is the kind of player that can play the entire game. In that sense, she is probably one of the best players I’ve ever coached, because she doesn’t need breaks.”
The East senior also received attention from college coaches for her running prowess. She is the most accomplished cross country runner in school history, taking 15th at the 1A state meet as a senior, 13th as a junior, third as a sophomore and fifth as a freshman. She also owns three regional championships and a conference crown.
“I knew I would do well in soccer because it’s my sport,” she said. “I was confident. I didn’t know I would do as well running. I started playing tennis my freshman year, but my best friend begged me to join her in cross country, and so I did. I think not liking losing helped a lot.”
Despite some recruiting looks for running, she was focused on her first love. Cloutier also narrowed down what kind of school she wanted to attend after growing up in a small town (Beaufort) and going to a small high school.
“I didn’t want to go to a really big college,” she said. “When I drove around the town, it felt like Front Street. It reminded me of home.”
Located in Salisbury, Catawba College has an enrollment of about 1,300 students and sports a 12:1 teacher-to-student ratio. Cloutier is counting on that ratio paying off after deciding on a pre-med major. She hopes to go into sports medicine.
“It’s going to be tough, but the professors there can really work with you,” she said.
In the meantime, she’s looking to finish her career strong with a standout fourth varsity season. She will again form a dynamic duo with fellow senior Gracie Somers, who has signed with West Virginia Wesleyan College. They are the third and fourth East girls soccer players, respectively, to ever sign scholarships.
“I’m happy for them,” Diaz said. “We’ve been lucky to have them for four years. Even as freshmen, they were putting up amazing numbers. They’ve stayed humble, kept working hard, never took it easy. As a coach, they are a dream come true. It’s special to send kids to the next level, and not just one, but two from the same class. It’s amazing.”
Cloutier and Somers are on pace to give East its best four-year run in school history. The Mariners are 37-27 over the past three years, visiting the fourth round of the 1A state playoffs in each of the past two seasons and the third round in 2017. They set a program record for wins in a season last year at 19-5. The previous record was 12 wins.
Cloutier and Somers have combined to produce 133 goals in three seasons, which accounts for 56 percent of the team’s total goals (238) during that time, and 43 percent (62) of the team’s total assists (146).