LAKEWOOD RANCH — Kristen Hagaman was set on playing soccer for the University of South Florida.
But when the Bulls were only able to offer her a partial scholarship, the Lakewood Ranch senior defender began checking out other options.
The first stop on her tour: Mercer University in Macon, Ga. Hagaman immediately fell in love with the school and its soccer program.
She verbally committed to play for the Bears last January, and on Feb. 3, surrounded by her family, friends and teammates, Hagaman made her decision official, signing with the Division I university in the school’s media center.
“I went there (Mercer) and fell in love with the campus and the girls,” Hagaman said. “It feels kind of northern, and I was kind of amazed seeing the trees change color; and the soccer program just fit my style. The girls were all so awesome. You have to live with these people every day, and everything just fit.”
Hagaman also connected with Bears coach Grant Serafy.
“The coach’s mentality is it has to be perfect,” Hagaman said. “And I’m really hard on myself. I like pushing myself.”
A four-year varsity player for the Lady Mustangs, Hagaman, who also plays club soccer for the Clearwater Chargers, chose Mercer over USF, Florida Atlantic University and Columbus State. She plans to major in psychology before attending graduate school for physical therapy.
“It’s kind of amazing because we are such a good team that I’m the only one (signing),” Hagaman said. “It’s amazing that all my hard work paid off and I’m going where I want to go.”
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].