FAIRHOPE – Twin Fairhope Pirate soccer players Addison and Emily Smith inked their verbal commitments to join the University of West Florida squad during a signing ceremony Thursday, Nov. 10, …
FAIRHOPE – Twin Fairhope Pirate soccer players Addison and Emily Smith inked their verbal commitments to join the University of West Florida squad during a signing ceremony Thursday, Nov. 10, at 3Circle Church as part of National Signing Day.
The pair have played together since they were 3 years old and were part of Fairhope’s state runner-up team this past spring. Since the beginning, though, they had dreamed of playing together at the collegiate level and the Argonauts were one of many teams that indeed recruited the Smith twins as a package deal.
“We would put in emails that we wanted be together for college,” Emily said. “Knowing that this school was a big program that was offering both of us was huge. We wanted to play together, and we just loved that area and wanted to have our parents still come support us.”
Addison said a conversation with God and some subsequent signs helped ensure this was the right decision to make.
“We prayed about it. We thought about it. I personally prayed on my own and asked God to give me a sign and that night I had two dreams back-to-back, so I took that as a big thing,” Addison said. “Another thing was that our parents went to talk to the coaches about everything, and they later opened a fortune cookie, and each fortune cookie was talking about the future, saying this is the right way to go.”
As it turned out, their verbal commitments Aug. 8 were timed perfectly.
In late September, a day after Emily broke a toe in practice, Addison suffered a full tear of her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and a slight tear in her meniscus on her left leg. However, West Florida head coach Joe Bartlinksi and staff were not concerned about either of the Smith twins’ injuries.
“I was nervous to talk to my college coaches, but they were very, extremely supportive. They know my personality, they know my work ethic,” Addison said. “They basically told me, ‘We know you're going to come back stronger. We have no doubt about you ever since we met you, we want you still,’ and so that's why it made me feel that West Florida was the place for me.”
In the wake of Addison’s lost season, Emily will carry on the legacy of her sister in their senior season and wear Addison’s No. 5 jersey for the 2023 campaign.
“I feel like it's encouraging her that there's still hope out there. Me wearing that, I feel like it's just something super special because she's played high school for three years and she doesn't get to finish out her senior year with us. I feel like me wearing her jersey just keeps it alive,” Emily said. “It honestly motivates me as an individual because I'm wearing my twin sister's jersey. And it honestly means so much to me because while she's on the sidelines, I will work my heart out on the field. And if I score, it's going to make me feel on top of the world. I'm doing all of this for Addison.”
With that support behind her, Addison said it was even more special to share the signing ceremony with those closest to them.
“It was so great to have everyone here. It made us feel very loved,” Addison said. “We really invited the people that have been beneficial throughout our whole soccer career, and it was the best time to sign with all of them supporting us and watching us.”
Although Fairhope’s next soccer season will be without Addison, Emily said a return trip to state is high on the priority list.
“I would like to take it back to state again, I'd like to win a state championship and place first,” Emily said. “I'd like to be able to motivate the team and put a great team together that will be supportive, motivating, encouraging, and I want to be known as the team that will be physically better than all the other teams – faster, stronger.”
“Also, we want to make (history) this year, we want to change things for the rest of the Fairhope soccer program,” Addison added. “We want to leave our stamp.”