While she’s excited about the opportunity to play soccer in college, Stacie Smith knows she has a long road of recovery ahead of her.

Smith, a senior at Washington High School, recently signed a letter of intent to play soccer at St. Charles Community College.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is Smith suffered a torn ACL during her fall club season and will miss Washington’s entire spring season.

“It happened on Sept. 22, 2013, playing club ball. It was the worst day of my life,” Smith said. “I had surgery on Oct. 24. I won’t be able to play at all for my senior year.”

Smith realizes there are plenty of athletes who have performed well after suffering ACL injuries. She plans on becoming one of those success stories.

“My knee will be healthy again,” she said. “I’m glad they (St. Charles Community College) has been scouting me since my junior year. They saw me play before the injury. I’m thankful I have the opportunity to go there and play soccer.”

Smith, a varsity midfielder and defender during her sophomore and junior seasons, brought plenty of qualities to Washington’s team.

“Stacie is an extremely hard worker who has put in the time and has improved tremendously year to year,” said Washington Girls Soccer Coach Chris Lanemann. “Stacie is a very tough player on the ball, and a very good two-way player. She was a very big part of our midfield last year.”

The Lady Jays, who have high hopes this spring, will miss Smith in the lineup.

“We’re definitely going to miss her tough play and emotional leadership on the field,” Lanemann said. “I think Stacie will do very well playing at St. Charles Community College.”

Smith anticipates playing the midfield position in college.

“I like to make things happen on the field. Playing the midfield, you can help control the ball, both offensively and defensively,” Smith said. “It’s always been my goal to play college soccer. I’m really excited about it.”

The St. Charles Lady Cougars are coached by Ashlee Slayback.

Stacie plans to major in nursing in college. She’s the daughter of Dave and Trish Smith.