Sharon Osterbind had 44 goals and 18 assists in helping Jacksonville advance to the Class 1A-4A girls state soccer quarterfinals. (Photo by Bill Wilson/Anniston Star)
Jacksonville High girls soccer coach Sam Cain noticed future star Sharon Osterbind at a camp while she was in elementary school and knew then he wanted to coach her.
Cain said that at the time, Osterbind clearly had talent and passion for the game. About a decade later, that hasn’t changed.
“It’s her intensity to be the best and her desire to want to be the best at whatever she does. In elementary school I knew I wanted to coach her just because she enjoyed the game so much,” Cain said. “She was out there working, smiling and laughing during the game. It’s not because she’s playing well — it’s because she enjoys the game. That’s kind of refreshing to see.”
Not only was the love Osterbind had for soccer unconditional, but her skill on the field was as well. The senior striker was the star on a team that went to the quarterfinals of the Class 1A-4A state playoffs and recorded a school-record 16 wins. She managed 44 goals and 18 assists.
“It was probably the most talented soccer team at JHS that I played on,” said Osterbind, who is The Anniston Star’s Calhoun County girls soccer player of the year. “Everyone just put in extra to work hard. It was a good season because everyone came in.
“A lot of us have been playing together for a while. We all know each other well enough to play good soccer.”
Osterbind excelled at several sports throughout childhood, but eventually dropped softball because it cut into her time spent playing soccer. She continued playing basketball, which she did at Jacksonville, but her true love was always soccer.
“I’ve been playing since I was 5, and it’s just something I’ve always really liked,” she said. “It’s a physical sport, and, for example, I’ve always loved basketball, but I’d always get in foul trouble because I was so used to soccer. In soccer, you can actually use your body — you just can’t use your arms to push.”
Similar to when Osterbind was on the court, she typically took the spotlight on the soccer pitch. Cain called her a coach on the field and added she also is a “great role player,” saying she’s going to make a difference no matter where she plays on the field.
“As she got older, she developed the leadership so that when it was time to score goals, she could go in and do that,” he said. “But when the game was in hand, she would make her teammates look better by setting them up for scores.”
Osterbind spent six years on the Jacksonville varsity before graduating last month. Although her prep career is finished, she’ll continue playing soccer at UAB next year.
“I like the campus, coaches and players. It’s really exciting and I can’t wait to start, but I’m a little nervous about preseason and all,” Osterbind said. “I’ll continue to work hard and try to be successful there, too.”
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.