Watch: Goal bonanza in Gulfport-Harrison Central
Gulfport High’s Alexis Arnoult has always heard that when you visit a college campus you “just know” if it’s the right fit.
The junior soccer standout was skeptical. Then she visited Louisiana-Lafayette in October.
“As soon as we visited, I was like, I know what they’re talking about,” Arnoult said Wednesday, shortly after driving to ULL to commit in person.
Arnoult slyly made her decision public Wednesday afternoon on her Twitter account (@AlexisArnoult4), simply tweeting “So blessed to be able to pursue my passion at the next (level).”
“I wanted to make it more personal,” Arnoult said of the visit. “It’s awesome. (ULL) is everything that I ever wanted.
“I knew I had time but I felt like it was a good time. I felt like this is what I wanted. I didn’t feel rushed. I’ve thought about it a lot.”
Arnoult has been one of the Coast’s more prolific goal scorers during her prep career. The two-time Sun Herald All-South Mississippi selection is coming off a 23-goal campaign despite missing six games due to injury.
As a sophomore last season, Arnoult scored 23 goals with 10 assists despite missing eight games due to injury.
Heading into Tuesday’s Class 6A playoff opener, Arnoult already has a whopping 36 goals and 11 assists.
Despite those gaudy totals, ULL envisions Arnoult as a left back or defender .
While she’s typically utilized as a striker for the Lady Admirals, Arnoult is utilized as a defender for her club team, Gulf Coast United.
“You wouldn’t expect it, but it’s my favorite position on the field,” Arnoult said. “Scoring is satisfying, but for me, being able to stop a really strong forward satisfies me more than anything.
“And you get to go up and attack so it’s kind of two positions in one.”
Arnoult’s ability on the field certainly helped get her recruited, but GHS coach Chris Pryor said it’s what she does between matches that has made her a bona fide college athlete.
“Like in any sport, if you’re not willing to sacrifice to be not just good but better than good then you’re not going to be able to be successful. That’s one of the big things,” he said. “She’s the one who stays after to get in more work. She does the things during the offseason to get bigger, faster, stronger.”
On the pitch, Pryor went so far as to call Arnoult a “complete player.”
“She has pace. She has the strength. Her soccer IQ is extremely high. She sees things and is able to anticipate things,” he said. “She’s not a cookie-cutter player. She’s not one dimensional. She can excel and hurt the other team in a number of ways.”
Arnoult said she chose ULL over interest from Southern Miss, William Carey, Mississippi College, North Texas and others.