Dixon will play in Virginia for Hampden-Sydney
SALISBURY — Salisbury senior Spencer Dixon’s favorite team isn’t the Carolina Panthers or the New York Yankees.
It’s Manchester United. This is a soccer guy. He refs soccer and he’s already helping coach middle school soccer at Knox.
Dixon’s father (Glenn) and brother (Roy) are noted golfers, while his sister (Susannah) is an All-CCC runner, but Spencer is all about soccer. He’ll continue to play the sport next year at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.
“When you’re a kid you want to try every sport, and I did,” Dixon said. “But I liked soccer best.”
The Hornets are fortunate Dixon chose soccer. He’s been a perennial all-county peformer at center back, and it’s unlikely that pretty 2011 2A state championship banner would be hanging in the gym without him.
Salisbury coach Matt Parrish is certain there would be no banner.
Salisbury’s playoff run in 2011 featured a comeback from two goals down at Shelby, but that just set the table for the championship game against Carrboro in Cary.
It was 2-2 after the second overtime, and two drained teams huddled prior to sudden death.
“Kenny (Bonilla) is hurt and Jon (Canipe) is hurt and Emmy (Turcios) is cramping,” Parrish said. “I went over all the X’s and O’s of what we needed to do, but I had given all the rah-rah speeches I had in me. But in the midst of all that chaos, Spencer starts grabbing guys and telling them they are not going to lose. He was always a leader, even when he was a freshman he was a leader, and he always was the guy with the right words. His words were absolutely critical that day. He gave us that extra step, that extra will to go and get it done.”
In Parrish’s heart and memory, Dixon’s unplanned pep talk will always stand right next to Turcios’ golden goal that won it.
“What did I say to the guys?” Dixon said with a chuckle. “Nothing you could print, really, but I’ll always remember that moment. I just told them we were going to win, that we had to win.”
The state title came Dixon’s junior year. His senior season, the Hornets were younger and veterans were injured. Even Dixon was less than 100 percent, dealing with back issues.
“He had a new keeper behind him, a freshman to his right, some inexperienced guys in front of him,” Parrish said. “But he was our captain and he was still the consummate leader. He led us in practice and he led us in games, and we made something out of the season. We only lost three games.”
Hampden-Sydney’s Tigers are mostly Virginians, but there’s a sprinkling of players from Charlotte and Raleigh on the roster, and it was at a tournament in Raleigh that coaches spotted Dixon. That led to Dixon’s commitment. He expects to move to outside back in college.
As a D-III school, Hampden-Sydney can’t offer athletic scholarship, but Dixon, who recently won a district American Legion competition as a speaker, is a strong student and already has qualified for academic scholarships that will grow as long as he maintains a B-plus average.
“Spencer is not big and he never was the most heralded, but he’s quick, he’s fast and he can read the game,” Parrish said. “He was the steady rock of this program for a long time, and I’m thrilled he’s getting a college opportunity.”
Besides girls and soccer, Dixon’s interest is history. That’s what he’ll major in, and a successful career as a teacher/soccer coach looks like a sure thing.
“That’s the gameplan,” Dixon said.