Parlett signs on to play soccer at Bluefield

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Hazel Parlett

Recent LHS grad reports Aug. 5, with first game Aug. 15

LURAY, June 24 — When the Bulldogs fell to perennial powerhouse Clarke County in the semifinals of the Bull Run District tournament on May 21, LHS senior midfielder Hazel Parlett realized she couldn’t give up the sport she loved. Luray still had the region tournament to go, but Parlett was preparing to attend college in West Palm Beach, Fla. and major in marine biology…and the women’s soccer roster had no openings.

“It’s like one moment I was 3 years old and starting to play soccer…and then I blink, and I’m getting ready to graduate…and maybe never play soccer again,” Parlett explained.

So, following that district semifinal loss, she went home and prayed on it. The next day she received an email “from out of the blue.” It was from Patrick Ritter, who’s preparing to enter his second season as the head coach of the women’s soccer program at Bluefield University. Parlett spoke with the coach over the phone a few days later — as well as a few players — and quickly decided to accept their scholarship offer, totaling nearly $50,000 over her four years at Bluefield.

“I felt I connected to [the players I spoke with] … like I had know them all my life,” Parlett said.

The Bulldogs’ midfielder has played soccer at LHS for four years and was part of the 2022 team that defeated Clark for the Region 2B title and went as far as the Class 2 state semifinals. Luray finished as district runner-up to Clarke in 2023. Parlett has earned second team All-District honors in the Bull Run for the last three seasons, and during her sophomore season was selected for the All-Region squad.

“Soccer has come a long way in the 13 years I’ve been here to coach…to have a kid get a scholarship, and love the sport like I love it…it’s amazing,” LHS girls soccer coach Amy Weakley said following Monday’s signing ceremony at LHS. “I know she’s going to do great things. She’s a great leader, a great player…very coachable…and I know she’s going to do a great job.”

As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the Rams of Bluefield University are able to extend scholarships to athletes — unlike the NCAA’s Division III programs, which are comparable to NAIA schools that nationwide currently offer more than $600 million in athletic scholarships to some 65,000 student-athletes.

Bluefield University is a private Baptist university that offers 22 majors to an enrollment of 628 undergraduate students and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. While the 82-acre campus sits in Bluefield, Virginia, just 150 feet from the state border — the East River Soccer Complex sits in Bluefield, West Virginia.

The Rams compete in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, and Parlett may have an opportunity to contribute early on to a struggling program. The Rams’ 4-1 victory over the Knights of Kentucky Christian University last season — their only win in 2023 — actually broke a 46-game losing streak going back more than three seasons. The program has only recorded three wins in six seasons dating back to 2018.

“I hope so,” Parlett says of her chances of playing as a freshman. “I’m going to go in giving my best shot and see where it goes from there.”

Coach Ritter has sent a summer workout regiment, including speed training, cardio conditioning and weight room routines. Although they’ve spoken on the phone and he’s seen film of her games, Parlett will meet her new coach for the first time on July 12 during her “official visit.” She is scheduled to report to Bluefield for the start of practice on Aug. 5. The Rams kick-off their 18-game, 2024 schedule by hosting the University of Rio Grande (Ohio) on Thursday, Aug. 15.

As the Luray senior collected her Golden “L” for soccer during the spring sports ceremony earlier this month, she began to reflect back on her time as a Bulldog.

“It was great…I definitely made some life-long friends,” Parlett said. “Coach Amy has helped me a lot…to push myself and see my goal at the end.”

In the ninth grade as a class exercise, Parlett wrote a letter to herself as a graduating senior. During Monday night’s signing ceremony at the LHS Commons, her father read portions of that letter. It shared her feelings about trying to be a student and an athlete during the COVID pandemic; it showed her excitement about her first year of travel soccer and how badly she wanted to make the varsity squad; and then it posed a question to her senior self: “Did you get your scholarship to play soccer?”

So while she may be a little disappointed to not be attending college at the beach — one of her hopes and dreams — she will still be majoring in biology, and she will now be playing collegiate soccer.

“I had my mind set on Palm Beach,” Parlett said on Monday. “But it’s so wonderful that the Lord answered my prayers and I get to keep doing something I love.”

For more information about womens’ soccer at Bluefield University,




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Three local teams advance to Region 2B semifinal

Bulldogs roll over Strasburg, 8-3

Luray girls soccer survives and advances to semifinals

LHS honors 19 spring athletes with awards

17 local athletes earn All-Region honors

Bulldogs, Panthers well represented on Bull Run’s All-District spring teams

Three local teams play for a district title Thursday

Luray moves into second place in Bull Run District after 5-0 win over Mt. View

Bulldogs fall, 5-1, to Glenvar in state semifinal

21 local athletes earn All-District, All-Region honors for spring sports

Luray shuts down Bruton, 8-0, behind seven goals from Weakley in state quarterfinal

Luray upsets undefeated Clarke for Region B title

Page and Luray prep for Region B title games on Friday

Bulldogs remain undefeated after season’s third shutout with 6-0 win over Mountaineers

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