A hard goodbye: Karley Perry to enroll early at Georgia State to kickstart college soccer career

Published 9:28 am Saturday, June 22, 2024

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It has been a whirlwind year for Karley Perry. The LaGrange High rising senior will be forgoing her final season on the soccer pitch to enroll early at Georgia State for the spring semester of 2025. The Granger forward has enjoyed one of the best high school soccer careers Troup County has ever witnessed.

It was a long and winding road to get the chance to play Division I soccer and it was full of hard decisions. None of those decisions were more difficult than the decision to forgo her senior season in blue and white.

“It took me, I want to say, two months to decide. There was a lot that went into it,” Perry said. “I made a pros and cons list and added to it every day. 

“I felt like I was always leaning towards graduating early. It was just hard to say goodbye to my friends here and miss out on my last season of high school soccer.”

Perry hit the ground running at LaGrange as a freshman before breaking out as a sophomore which put her name on the map. There were offers from x, y, and z but Georgia State felt like the right fit.

“They saw me at an ID camp and it was right when the recruiting process picked up for me,” Perry said. “They were the first people that emailed me and first people to text me and I was honestly really shocked.

“I went up there for a visit and was a little unsure of being in downtown Atlanta at first, but the coaches really made it feel like home.”

The numbers Perry racked up during her time as a Granger are astounding and made her a sure-fire college recruit. She led the team in goals and assists as a sophomore with 26 and 12, respectively. Her junior year was equally as good as she scored 25 goals and provided 11 assists in two fewer games (21-19). 

Those were not just empty calories as she helped guide the team to back-to-back 4A state quarterfinal appearances. 

“Making it to the Elite Eight two years in a row was a big accomplishment for us,” Perry said “There were a lot of long bus rides and memories made during the last couple of seasons.”

There were a lot of special goals, but the one in her final game was one that will leave a lasting impression despite LaGrange’s loss. Down 2-0 in the second half, Perry took the ball out of the air, dribbled past a defender and put the ball in the back of the net to bring the Grangers back in the game against soccer powerhouse Westminster.

“I really shocked myself honestly,” Perry said. “When I got the ball I just thought I’d go for it and was able to break away and score. It was such a big goal that gave us a little momentum. They were the reigning state champions and we pushed them. It was one of the best games we have ever played.”

Soccer was not Perry’s first love, but she cannot envision herself doing anything else now.

“At first, I was doing cheer and gymnastics and stuff and I didn’t really have too much of an eye out for competitive sports like soccer. But then my mom started coaching my brother and I decided I wanted to give it a try,” Perry said. “I did competitive cheer in middle school, but once I started playing with the LaGrange JV team, I decided to focus on one sport.”

With her college future settled Perry is excited to enjoy her final summer before college. Perry wore herself thin last summer going to camps and trying to get noticed by scouts and coaches. 

“My schedule is not as hectic as last year when I was running all over to camps trying to get recruited,” Perry said. “It’s a relief to get it out of the way and enjoy this summer more.”

As Perry heads into her final few months as a Granger, she is feeling relieved, relaxed and ready for her next challenge.