Fadely makes early commitment to play soccer at Longwood

Layne Fadely, 16, of Woodstock, a rising junior at Central High School, has already verbally committed to play Division I college soccer at Longwood University. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK – Nearly two years ago, early in her soccer career with the Herndon United 99 travel squad, Layne Fadely started realizing that fellow players were making their college commitments as early as their sophomore and junior years of high school. She took note and made herself a similar goal.

Consider that objective crossed off her list. On May 9, Fadely verbally committed to play Division I college soccer on scholarship at Longwood University, a full month ahead of the end of her sophomore year at Central High School.

“Committing to Longwood, it really boosted my confidence,” Fadely said Friday morning. “Throughout the whole experience I really wasn’t sure where I was gonna go, so knowing that I was gonna commit to Longwood was a big confidence boost and stress reliever throughout the whole thing.”

Fadely’s college decision came down to Longwood and Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, the only other school to offer her a scholarship to that point, she said. Fadely said location was “definitely a factor” in her decision to commit to Longwood, which is located in Farmville and is less than a three-hour drive from Woodstock, but she added that the school’s coaching staff was another big reason she chose the Lancers.

“When I went to visit the campus they were so excited to have me there,” Fadely said. “They really showed interest and just their goals personally for the soccer team within the next couple years was just amazing.”

Todd Dyer, a Longwood alum, has coached women’s soccer at his alma mater since the program’s inception in 1994. The Lancers, who compete in the Big South Conference, became a Division I program in 2007 and have not had a losing season since that time, going 86-70-17 in that span. In 2015, Longwood was 9-8-2 overall and 5-3-2 in Big South play.

Fadely said she first came in contact with Dyer midway through her freshman year during a tournament with Herndon United.

“He stayed through our entire game, so I mean that was really shocking because usually they leave at halftime,” Fadely said. “The fact that he stayed, it peaked my interest. Then he got in contact and ever since then he’s been a great guy, a great coach.”

The 16-year-old Fadely credited her time with Herndon United for helping to fully open the door for her future as a collegiate athlete. Herndon United, coached by Todd Hamlin, is ranked as the No. 2 U18 girls soccer team in the state by GotSoccer.com.

“Every single girl on our team works hard. They’re amazing,” said Fadely, who plays year-round with the squad. “They all wanna play in college. All of us hit practice as many times a week as we can. We all work off of each other and work for each other on the field. All of us just have great chemistry and we always try to hang out as much as we can off the field and make team dinners, team hangouts and everything.”

Fadely joined the club three years ago after competing with Herndon United as a “guest player” while a member of Chantilly Youth Association, she said. Since then, she has made the transition from forward to attacking midfielder.

“Just having to learn a new position has really changed my game,” Fadely said. “It’s made me think more about where everyone else on the field is. I have to be the distributor now instead of just always attacking. It’s definitely changed my game in terms of perspective.”

Still, Fadely remains Herndon United’s scoring leader, she said, although firing goals into the net isn’t necessarily the top priority for the self-described “team player.”

“I always just try to help everyone else and having support of my other teammates really helps strengthen everyone’s game, but especially mine,” Fadely said. “Really my job on the team now since I’ve committed is to really help others get looks and help score goals.”

Fadely’s soccer career began when she was 5 years old, she said, at which point she joined a team in the Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation League after watching her older brother, Austin, compete in the sport. From age 7 to 13, Fadely played travel soccer locally as one of the few girls on a team that included almost all the boys that made up Central’s varsity boys soccer team this past spring, she said. That travel team was – and still is – coached by her father, Kevin.

“He’s definitely been an impactful part in my life for soccer,” Fadely said of her father. “He’s working all the time to help pay for it. He’s driving me all across the country during the weekends. He’s taking time out of his day to help me succeed. And same with my mom (Julie). She drives me three times a week for practice every week. So my parents definitely play a huge role in what I’ve accomplished.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com