First Presbyterian Christian Academy soccer player Nate Hart signed a letter of intent Tuesday at the school’s media center to play soccer at the University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie.
Hart, who plans to study computer science, chose the school due to its small campus and family-oriented environment.
“It is more comfortable for an incoming freshman, especially coming in with an athletic scholarship … I will have time to adjust to the campus and college life … it’s not as difficult as going to a big university,” he said.
Hart played left-back in high school and said he likely to play that spot in college, but is ready to learn and develop skills in other positions too.
Hart, who has been playing soccer since he was 7 years old, said USC-Salkehatchie was just a starting point for his soccer career.
“After these two years, I’ll look to transfer to a four-year university, still with the same major … afterwards, I would like to start my own business,” he said.
Hart admitted he will need to work hard throughout the summer and will compete against other freshmen and returning sophomore players in fall.
“We sent him our summer-workout plan, and he is already working on that,” USC-Salkehatchie coach William Glass said. “It includes a lot of activity that is geared toward building endurance and increasing his speed and agility. We also gave him ball-work exercises to help develop his technical skills.”
Glass said Hart fits who the program looks for.
“We look for someone who is going to be a good fit for our team, and the first things we normally look for are good character, high-quality individual,” Glass said. “Second, you can tell from the way he plays soccer, how dedicated and how passionate he is about the game. He has a very high work rate out on the field. He has a high energy level; he hates to come off the field. Even if he is injured, he wants to go back in the game that shows commitment to the team … those are the things will look for.”
USC-Salkehatchie competes in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division I, according to njcaa.org.
Highlander coach Tom Sukaratana said Hart deserves this opportunity to play at the collegiate level.
“Since the moment I saw him about three years ago, I knew this day would come,” Sukaratana said. “He is the hardest-working player I ever had. Even when he developed a knee injury during a game … he never said one word and wanted to keep playing … but safety comes first … that is just him always giving 200 percent. “
Hart’s mother, Erika, said she hopes her son will follow the same guiding principles that has brought him this far.
“Put God first in everything he does … if he places God first, God will give him what he deserves,” she said. “He should always follow the rules that I gave him at home, and I would tell him to be focused, follow his own steps, don’t look right or left, just move forward.”