Peachtree City Sign Duke Defender Emma Carlson

Defenders, as difficult and demanding as the position is, never get much recognition in the grand scope of things. Defenders don't tend to win MVP awards or Player of the Year, which is a large part of the reason for awards like Defender of the Year: to recognize great defensive talent that would otherwise go unnoticed. As defenders do things that don't go down on the score-sheet, it is up to them to make their names known, and some of them do that by doing things that do go down in the books: scoring goals and picking up assists.

Emma Carlson - Defender - Duke University

A native of Lilburn, Georgia, defender Emma Carlson attended Parkview High School where she played as a midfielder, and needless to say, she was phenomenal. As a freshman, Carlson came out of the gates sprinting, scoring twenty-seven goals to go along with five assists on the season en route to a 20-3-1 record and a Georgia AAAAAA State Championship, and she was just getting started. Her sophomore year was even better, statistically, as Carlson set a school-record for goals in a single season with thirty-five, as well as recording seven assists, guiding Parkview to a 19-3-0 overall record. Her sophomore year was also her first year as team captain, a role which she would take for the remainder of her high school career. Following the year, she was a Gwinnett Super Six Selection, recognizing her as one of the six best players in Gwinnett County. Her junior season saw her statistics balance out just a bit more, as she scored twenty-four goals with eleven assists, making the All-Region team as Parkview went 15-5-0. Senior year saw the culmination of her development, as Carlson scored twenty-one goals to go with thirteen assists, and following the season she was selected as the Gwinnett Daily Post Girls Player of the Year. In total, Carlson scored 108 goals with thirty-six assists over four seasons, being selected as All-Region Midfielder of the Year three times. The All-American midfielder ranked #58 overall in the 2016 graduating class by TopDrawerSoccer.com, #7 in the South Atlantic Region. With the Olympic Development Program, Carlson got the experience to train abroad in Britain, Germany, and Costa Rica, and following high school she committed to Duke University.

Her freshman season saw Carlson play a limited role on defensive with Blue Devils, featuring in just seven matches, all of which were Blue Devil victories. Overall, Duke outscored opponents twenty-nine to three in matches that Carlson played in, as Duke made it all the way to the NCAA Quarterfinals before losing to West Virginia. Her sophomore season saw that continued limited role with Carlson only playing in four matches, seeing a season-high seventeen minutes in the Blue Devils 7-0 defeat of Oklahoma State in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. Heading into her junior year, look for Carlson to play more minutes with the Blue Devils as she completes the switch from midfielder to defender and becomes a first-choice defender.

Some of the most notable defenders throughout the history of the sport of football have been great scorers, and Emma Carlson's past as an attacking midfielder could benefit her greatly in the long run. As she continues to refine her skills at the collegiate level and in the WPSL with Peachtree City MOBA, look for Carlson to become a very dangerous player. She has already shown incredible potential, and if she makes the most of that potential, you won't have to look further than the U.S. Women's National Team to find where Emma Carlson is.

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Photo Courtesy: Duke Chronicle

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