02/11/07 — Chargers' Crow signs with Barton

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Chargers' Crow signs with Barton

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 11, 2007 2:07 AM

Georgia Crow is living on borrowed time.

The Wayne Country Day senior has just six months to choose a college and generate financial support before her visa expires June 1.

Her dream, despite frustrating and bureaucratic red tape, became reality Friday afternoon. Crow signed a national letter-of-intent to play soccer next fall at Barton College.

The England native is not your average 18-year-old.

Crow left her home in the Isle of Wight, an island on the southern coast of England known for its scenic beauty, more than three years ago. WCDS athletics director Michael Taylor compared Crow's life in the states to a whirling dervish.

As a sophomore, she commuted daily from her cousins' home in Clayton. During her junior year, Crow lived with a fellow student during the fall and a teacher during the spring. Now she resides in a one-bedroom apartment and supports herself financially.

Her parents, Terry and Linda, remain overseas.

"You have to admire her for what she's done," said Taylor.

Crow can't file for U.S. citizenship because of her student status. Her academic transcripts at WCDS serve as proof of residency.

Her final step to college, the NCAA Clearinghouse, nearly turned into an obstacle. The NCAA required Crow's actual transcript from England and would not accept a photocopy, which Taylor had provided in the original paperwork. The Clearinghouse examines every transcript to make sure the student-athlete meets the necessary core curriculum requirements to qualify for college.

"That was a headache," said Taylor. "We had to contact Georgia's school in England and have them mail a copy to the Clearinghouse. That just made things take even longer."

The 10-month wait finally ended last week. Crow's adviser from Barton mailed the national letter-of-intent to her and she cheerfully signed it in front of her surrogate family -- her WCDS friends and teachers.

"I wish my parents could be here," said an emotional Crow. "They usually come during soccer season to see me play."

Crow became the second WCDS player to sign with a college in this decade. Matt McCall, who played keeper on the boys' state 1-A runner-up team in 2001, signed with Guilford College.

WCDS head coach Paul Estrada had no doubts Crow could play college soccer.

"Unlike some athletes who play and don't go on to college, that's not the case for Georgia," he said. "Soccer is in Georgia's soul. She has to be part of it."

Crow strives to get better each time she steps onto the field. That independent desire, along with her speed and knowledge of the game, drew attention from Barton head coach Stacy Tant. Crow and Tant constantly stayed in touch by phone, and Tant also kept contact with Taylor.

Crow participated in weekly indoor soccer tournaments and refused to back down against bigger, stronger players. She developed friendships with current players and liked the community atmosphere, which helped her decide on Barton.

She joins an established program which competes annually for the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference regular-season and tournament championships. The Bulldogs posted an uncharacteristic 9-8 record last fall.

Taylor and Estrada think she will fit well into Tant's coaching scheme. Crow says she's got some work to do.

"I definitely have to work more on my skill and shooting ... get a bend-it-like-Beckham kind of kick," said a grinning Crow. "My speed, I don't know where it came from."

Crow scored 36 goals and dished out 15 assists last season. She helped Wayne Country Day finish 13-7 overall and advance to the quarterfinals of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association.

A two-time all-state selection, Crow holds the Chargers' single-game scoring record (five goals) set last year in the playoffs against Northwood Temple. She has more than 60 goals for her career.