Story by Jacob Young / Staff Writer
Photo by Brent Beerends / MT Athletics
Tyler Lamb / Sports Editor contributed to this story
Middle Tennessee Soccer is closing in on the end of the 2016 season as the Blue Raiders wrapped up their final home game Sunday against UTEP on Senior Day. With bright futures on and off the field, MTSU soccer’s four seniors will soon say goodbye to their collegiate soccer careers. Defender Grace Stewart is one of those seniors.
Coming to MT from Baylor High School in Chattanooga, Tenn., the Blue Raider atmosphere was what led to Stewart’s choice to move to Murfreesboro.
“Once I got on campus and got to see everything, I felt like it was the best fit for me,” Stewart said. “I thought that everyone was super friendly and down to earth, and I liked that a lot.”
After a highly decorated high school career including All-State honors in 2011, an injury prevented Stewart from seeing playing time during her freshman season.
She bounced back strong with 532 minutes logged in her sophomore season in seven games played, five of which she started. Stewart kept her consistent play going into her junior year, starting seven games and playing 663 minutes.
Even though an ACL injury would bring an early end to her junior campaign and prevent her from getting on the field in her senior season, Stewart hasn’t let that take away from her experience at MTSU.
“The memories that I’ll remember the most are just being with the girls on the bus rides and out of season,” Stewart said. “We are all so close and we hang out together and that’s what I’ll take away.”
Stewart said during her playing days, she always had a couple of pregame superstitions.
“I always wore a white headband, and then I had my pregame playlist,” Steward said.
“This might come as a shock, but I’m a huge Future fan, and I love Young Thug and other artists like that.”
Stewart will soon be able to attend many concerts as she plans to get a job in Nashville after she graduates in May with a degree in public relations.
Even though Stewart will be just down the road, she said she will also miss her favorite restaurant, The Boulevard.
“I’m going to miss The Boulevard, honestly,” Stewart said. “I love their sweet potato fries. They’re so good.”
But on a more serious note, Stewart’s message to her teammates and the Blue Raider fans was grateful.
“I appreciate all the support over the last four years, and I’m going to miss all the girls that I played with and that are going to continue to play here,” Stewart said.