One of the players to sign on for the new era of Reinhardt soccer was goalkeeper Luke Williams, a four-year starter and captain for the Crown Athletics Knights, a home-school athletic program based in Woodstock.
Williams has a history of playing high-level soccer, competing for the North Atlanta Soccer Association’s 14 Elite club, which was ranked in the top 10 in Georgia.
Williams said he had five colleges he was seriously considering, but the temptation of playing close to home won out.
Johnson is pleased that Williams chose Reinhardt.
“Luke had several options to play collegiately in Georgia and we were pleased that he chose to sign with our program here are Reinhardt,” Johnson said. “It is always a positive decision, in my opinion, to sign local talent when possible, and as a Cherokee County native, Luke certainly will represent the Canton community well here at Reinhardt.”
Williams admits that the decision wasn’t easy.
“(Reinhardt) just got a new coach over there, and he is a really great guy,” Williams said. “He is really looking to take the program in a great direction. I’m just excited to be a part of that.”
Williams will have a few adjustments to make with the move to college.
For one, he isn’t accustomed to playing on an artificial turf surface like Reinhardt’s Ken White Field. Second, he’s used to being on the field, not watching from the sidelines.
With two goalkeepers already on the Eagles’ roster, Williams may have to wait for his turn. He hopes to learn as much as he can from those ahead of him, while fighting for the starting spot.
“I definitely want to come in with the mentality to fight for the starting position,” Williams said. “I know the starter there, and he is a great guy. I’m just looking forward to learning from both those goalkeepers.”
Williams said he enjoys the pressure that comes with being a goalkeeper.
“You are basically the backbone of the team,” he said. “That kind of pressure is hard to deal with, but it’s what makes it so much fun.”
Also set to join the Reinhardt roster this fall are German midfielder Dominic Ponty and Zach McCown, an east Cobb native who played for Johnson as a freshman last season at Bryan College. McCown led the Appalachian Athletic Conference in assists.
Defender Adam Reakes, who spent the first two years of his college career at Reinhardt, is returning to Waleska after one season at Clayton State.
The Eagles also picked up a pair forward Jose Rubio and midfielder Francisco Ferman from Virginia Intermont, an AAC rival shutting down its athletic programs, Matthew Gray from an England and Schuyler Osthoff from Alpharetta.
Meanwhile, midfielder Mark Withers will be rejoining the team after missing last season with a knee injury.