Ferguson's MSU Career Coming to an End

While growing up in Canada, Treena Ferguson wanted nothing more than to do what her older brother, Ryan, did. Of course, that is something all siblings can relate to during the childhood years. Whatever the older sibling does, the younger one usually will not stop until he or she follows suit. Lucky for Treena, and even luckier for Mississippi State, Ryan decided to take up soccer.

Once her older brother entered the realm of soccer, Treena observed his play from her position on the sidelines during his matches. Eventually Treena developed such an itch to play the game that she actually made it a routine to go to her brother's soccer practices.

"I would always come to his practices," Treena said. "His coaches would be nice enough to let 'little sister' hang around and kick the ball into a net [on the sidelines]."

Treena's fascination of the sport could not be contained by simply standing aside during her brother's practices and kicking balls into a net. It didn't take her long to find a team of her own to enable her to develop her own skills on the playing field.

One of the first soccer coaches Treena ever had was a man named Kevin Simmonds. Simmonds served in the role as coach, as well as mentor, for Ferguson during her early days of playing and learning about the sport.

"Kevin was basically the one coach that I had from the time I was 12 years old," Ferguson said. "He was basically my main influence."

While playing under Simmonds during those days, Ferguson not only learned the intricacies of the game of soccer, but also watched some of the teams from the Premier League in England. She recalled watching numerous games of some of the teams from the league and wanting to mirror some of their styles.

"I just grew up watching teams like Liverpool and Arsenal," Ferguson explained. "With my coach being a big fan, I would just watch some of the games with him. I never really watched a specific person to try to play like, I would just look at certain people and say 'that's what I want to be able to do.' "

Ferguson picked up various techniques on how to play soccer by watching matches from those Premier League teams and through playing matches of her own. While playing under Simmonds' Sarnia Spirit club squad as a teenager, Ferguson amassed numerous honors, including being named the most valuable player on the team and having the most goals scored on the team.

While Ferguson was nearing the completion of her club squad and high school days, she began narrowing down her choices of colleges. And the field of study that she wanted to delve into assisted her greatly in narrowing down that list.

"I wanted to go to a school that had a really good veterinary program," said Ferguson, an animal and dairy sciences major. "So when I decided which school to go to, I looked at good vet programs and good soccer schools."

So of course, Mississippi State matched the descriptions of what she was looking for, since the university boasts one of the best veterinary schools in the country. So, Ferguson decided to make the next step.

"I just talked to the coaches, and I found that I liked Mississippi State when I came here [to visit]," she said. "I liked the team and I liked the coach.

"I liked the weather here too, it's great," she added with a grin.

After she made her decision to become a Lady Bulldog, Ferguson felt a bit of a culture shock coming from Canada to Starkville. But the primary adjustments that she had to make were ones that she liked.

"When I came, I noticed that people were really outgoing and open," she said. "They would hold the door open for me and everything. There was a lot of hospitality."

That southern hospitality also spilled over to the team that Ferguson joined as a freshman during the 2004 campaign. Ferguson said she felt that the 2004 squad really helped her as she developed into an SEC soccer player.

"I felt like I bonded with all of our seniors," said Ferguson. "I felt like our seniors were the type of people who wanted you to be better and expected more of you. They weren't okay with you being as good as you were, they wanted you to be better. So they inspired me to be a better soccer player. That was important to me."

Through their guidance and through extended playing time as she matured in gameplay, Ferguson blossomed into an outstanding goal-scorer for the Lady Bulldog squad. As a junior last season, she led the team with seven goals scored.

And she started her senior season at the same torrid pace. She scored five goals in the first five matches of the season, which set her on a fast track to eclipsing her seven goals from her junior season. Those early-season goals have enabled her to have superb stats, including currently ranking fourth in SEC in goals scored.

And now as she is in her senior season and has battled through three seasons that enabled her to become an aged veteran on the playing field, Ferguson said she hopes that she is filling the same role for this season's underclassmen as the seniors before her filled in her soccer life.

She particularly likes the feel for this season's squad of Lady Bulldogs. She stressed the importance of the team's chemistry as being an instrumental part of the team.

"I feel like we have a lot of committed people, and we have a good team chemistry," said Ferguson. "The fact that everyone can get along attributes to the fact that everyone plays for each other."

But with the majority of the season's journey completed, Ferguson has turned her soccer attention to this weekend's road trip during which the team will travel to face No. 20 ranked Georgia Lady Bulldogs and No. 14 Tennessee Lady Volunteers. And while certainly not overlooking this weekend's important matches, she can't help but think about her last home game as a Lady Bulldog on Thursday, Oct. 25 against Kentucky.

"I try to play my hardest every game, but I will have to have a big game that night," Ferguson said. "It's the end for me, since it's my senior year. I'm going to definitely show up to play hard. The match will mean a lot to me, because it's a big event.

"I have no words to explain it, but I'm sure I'll cry," she added with a glimpse of a smile.

During that match, Ferguson's parents will be in attendance to cheer on the Lady Bulldog in her final match in front of the Starkville faithful.

And while her brother, Ryan, now with a family of his own, won't be able to make it to the match, he still will have indirectly led to Treena being out there on the MSU soccer field on senior night ... lucky for Mississippi State.

Brent Wilburn, a sports reporter for the MSU student newspaper The Reflector, is the soccer beat writer for the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network.

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