Emma Pence made history when she signed a soccer scholarship to play for Union University, becoming the first Lady Rebel player to play collegiate soccer since the program relaunched in 2014.

She led her team to winning seasons in her three years there, and fulfilled her dream of playing on the next level.

“I am excited about Union,” she stated. “It’s a place I think I would see myself even if I wasn’t playing soccer. The fact that I get to go and play in addition to going to school there is crazy. College soccer is crazy to think about.”


Growing up, she had a soccer ball on her feet at the age of three. When she moved to TRA after her freshman year of high school from Middle Tennessee, it was a culture shock for her.

“Soccer is huge there,” Pence said about the central area of the state. “It is the equivalent to softball in Tipton County.”

She was a big fish in a small pond, as she excelled in the sport, and an event before her senior year had her to step up and lead.

Stephen Starnes was the head soccer coach and took another position at a local church, and they were in need of a coach, so, with the help of her dad stepping in was interim, she led summer workouts.

“I couldn’t let Emma Grace not have a senior season with her dream of playing college soccer,” Pence said, “so I agreed to stay on and I guess now I am official.”

With her leadership and dad stepping in to help coach, she led her team to a postseason home game and scored the last goal of her senior season.

David Perry
Author: David Perry