Elmore signs with Enterprise State for soccer

Published 2:59 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Chilton County High School graduate Gentry Elmore will be continuing his soccer career at the collegiate level after signing to play for Enterprise State Community College on May 15. Elmore will be amongst the very first players in the ESCC program to put on the jersey for the Boll Weevils under head coach Cade Stinnett in the program’s first season as a sanctioned sport. After a trial run as a club sport last fall, the program will now be a sanctioned and competing in the Alabama Community College Conference.

“Proud does not even describe it,” Chilton County head soccer coach Brandon Gurganus said. “He is one of those kids that you knew early on was going to be something special, and he is everything you want in a team leader … He just wants to win and make everyone better. To see him get those accolades at the end and this reward of getting to go on and play college soccer is special.”

Playing mainly as a midfielder during his lengthy CCHS soccer career, Elmore was a regular in the Tigers’ starting XI since his eighth-grade season. He became a focal point in his freshman year of what Gurganus and the CCHS program wanted to do on the field, and he remained a powerful force in the middle of the park into his upperclassman years as well. The level of Elmore’s impact was evident this past season when he picked an injury shortly after the midway point in the year that sidelined him for the rest of it, and the Tigers form declined in his absence.

“We had talented guys all over the field, but there was just something about having him out there that made everyone else better,” Gurganus said. “His role was sometimes scorer, but also sometimes as just a facilitator making the people around him better.”

Gurganus praised Elmore for never missing a practice, showing up early and putting in extra work in the offseason getting faster and stronger. Even after his injury that cut his senior season short, Elmore was still at every practice and helped Gurganus coach the junior varsity team. For the CCHS coach, to be great one has to have the ability, but also the drive and work ethic to do it. Elmore proved to have both, which is rare in a high school soccer player.

The midfielder is the second player from the CCHS program to take his talents to the collegiate level, following in the footsteps of former CCHS soccer standout Tyrell Price who played at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Elmore saw how much Price poured into his craft and the CCHS program, and he took it upon himself to do the same and not let the standard of the program dip.

“He was the guy who was the best player out there, and he was working really hard to try to help everyone else out,” Elmore said. “That is where it started, and after that (2020) season ended short, I wanted to keep the standard up he set. He set the standard for how many games we needed to win, and how hard we need to work in training. I wanted to keep that standard, and I started to work in the offseason and play club soccer to keep the standard and continue to grow.”

Enterprise State head coach Cade Stinnett set himself apart from other programs during Elmore’s recruitment by being honest about how new the Enterprise program is, and possible growing pains that may come with having a new program. However, the ambitions and ideas he told Elmore drew the recruit into the program enough to commit.

Elmore understands that with the new program there will be some ups and downs, and maybe some rough spots, but he knows the team will just need to keep on playing, improving and making gains each performance one way or another. He plans to get stronger, faster and become better in possession of the ball once he gets to training at Enterprise. His goal is to be consistently in the starting XI playing in every game he can.

Gurganus added that Elmore’s mindset and willingness to know he does not have to be the guy will help him in his transition to Enterprise, but also his confidence will propel him to competing for a starting spot quickly.

“What it means to this program (is extraordinary),” Gurganus said. “It has been a building process for the past five years, and to have that second player take the step to the next level really shows where we have come as a program. For us as a program, this achievement by him cannot be overstated.”