Gar­cia Signs With Crow­der

McDonald County Press - - SPORTS - Rick Peck

His­tory was made re­cently when Alex Gar­cia be­came the first mem­ber of the McDon­ald County High School soc­cer pro­gram to sign a let­ter of in­tent to play soc­cer at the col­le­giate level.

Gar­cia inked his let­ter with Crow­der Col­lege in front of a large group of sup­port­ers, in­clud­ing most of the 2017-2018 Mus­tangs, at a block party held Aug. 12 at Noel Ele­men­tary School.

Gar­cia was a mem­ber of the Mus­tang soc­cer team for both of its two years in ex­is­tence since it be­came a var­sity sport in the 20152016 school year. Gar­cia is first and fore­most a goalie but did play mid­field at times for MCHS.

“Alex is a great kid,” McDon­ald County coach James Carter said. “When you talk to any­body who knows him, they all say the same thing. As a soc­cer player, he is an ex­cep­tional goalie. We put him in the field some be­cause we needed help out there. He did that with­out com­plain­ing, but I am not too sure that is what he wanted to do. He was re­ally good in the field. In our first year, he scored the game-win­ner against Aurora on the first time he played in the field.”

The late-sum­mer sign­ing came about af­ter Carter talked to and found they were in need of a goalie.

“Coach Smith (Crow­der Coach Brad Smith) and I have a good re­la­tion­ship,” Carter said. “I played un­der him when I played there and I was an as­sis­tant coach un­der him, so we are re­ally close. We talk all the time and he said they were in need of a keeper. I brought Alex’s name up and we both thought he would be a good fit. It hap­pened fast and we are both happy that it came about.”

Carter said one of the hopes in start­ing as soc­cer pro­gram at McDon­ald County was to give stu­dents a chance to go to col­lege when maybe they wouldn’t have had that op­por­tu­nity.

“If you talk to the peo­ple who started the soc­cer pro­gram, one of the big ideas was maybe we would get some kids to go to col­lege who might not oth­er­wise go,” Carter said. “Maybe play­ing soc­cer would be a way to push them over the top. That’s a big part of the story and a re­ally im­por­tant part.”

For Gar­cia, it worked out just that way.

“I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to go to col­lege this year and then I got an of­fer to play,” Gar­cia said. “It’s hard to turn down some­thing you like to do. I was go­ing to go to col­lege next year, but I de­cided be­cause of this.”

Gar­cia said he is thank­ful for the op­por­tu­nity and ready to get started.

“I am pretty ex­cited about this op­por­tu­nity,” Gar­cia said. “I want to thank Coach Carter for all his help. He is a great coach. I also want to thank my Aunt Cruz Mar­quez. She has raised me for 19 years.”

RICK PECK/MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

McDon­ald County’s Alex Gar­cia (cen­ter) re­cently signed a let­ter of in­tent to play soc­cer at Crow­der Col­lege. From left to right: Cruz Mar­quez (aunt), Gar­cia and MCHS soc­cer coach James Carter.

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