Though she stands a mere 5-foot-4, even smaller is the likelihood of Greene junior Paige Wilcox touting her own achievements on the soccer field.
The numbers speak loudly enough. Wilcox has scored 20 goals in nine games this season, and has tallied a school-record 86 goals since a late-season call-up to the varsity for Section 4 postseason play as an eighth-grader in 2009.
“I didn’t think too much about it,” said Wilcox of surpassing Amber Pratt’s total of 70 goals earlier this season. “It’s just something I knew I could accomplish, but I didn’t worry about it that much.
“I just try to do my best while playing — that’s all I can really say.”
Greene coach Brandy Jones, though, had few qualms about talking up her standout player.
“It shows how hard work pays off,” Jones said. “She’s focused on soccer as her main sport. She’s a phenomenal athlete, she’s improved so much.
“It’s impressive to watch her, how much hustle she shows and how much she puts into the game.”
Wilcox has been an integral part of Greene’s success the past few seasons. She helped lead the Trojans to the Midstate Athletic Conference championship in 2010, and scored 39 goals last season in leading Greene to a 12-5-1 record and MAC runner-up finish.
This season has been a bit of a tougher, as Greene has managed a 4-5 record. In the process, Wilcox has garnered more attention than usual from opposing defenses. It still hasn’t slowed her down.
“Every goal that scored against us, she got the ball around the midfield area and beat at least three of my defenders to get into shot range,” said Walton coach Kelly Gates after Wilcox scored every goal in Greene’s 6-0 season-opening victory. “What makes her difficult to defend — it’s like the ball is attached to her foot, she has incredible ball skills.
“This is the best that I’ve seen her play, every year she’s getting more confident. She’s definitely one of the top players in our league over the past few years. And one of the best things is, she’s not a put-it-in-your-face kind of player.”
Both Wilcox and Jones acknowledge colleges have not come calling to recruit Wilcox. That could change soon if Wilcox continues to show the improvement she has displayed over the past several seasons.
Jones said she knew immediately what kind of player Wilcox was upon her promotion to varsity in 2009.
“She was far beyond where her peers are in soccer,” Jones said. “It was impressive back then, but every year I’ve noticed more and more good things from her.”
“She’s still pretty much a hidden gem. If people saw her, once they see some of what she does, they’d be impressed with her.”
Wilcox first started playing soccer around the age of 4, and began playing indoor soccer regularly around the age of 7. She admits it was not exactly passion that led to what has become a year-round devotion.
“It’s just the sport I was the best at, so I’ve just stuck with it,” said Wilcox, whose favorite player is Brazilian great Ronaldinho. “I just try to get better each year. I think my foot skills have improved a lot, that helps me more than usual I guess.”
As for her future plans, Wilcox is only concentrating on this season, hoping to help Greene build some momentum heading into Sectional play next month.
“I just want us to get a better record and start winning more,” Wilcox said. “And go (as deep) into the Section 4 Class C playoffs. That’d be nice.”