By Eugenio Torrens
Land O’ Lakes soccer players Josh Davis and Nathan Dalton watched on March 15 as friends and family filtered in to see them make their college plans official.
“It’s great that I finally get to sign and I have everything off my back,” Davis said. The speedy forward led Pasco County with 33 goals and signed with St. Leo University. He then added, “I’m really, really happy to be signing with St. Leo and become a Lion. I’m really happy I get a chance to play college soccer, because it was coming in December and I was just like ‘Man, there’s no school looking at me.’”
Gators coach Mark Pearson was integral in setting up the relationship between Davis and the Lions late in the recruiting process.
Davis plans to study sports business, but ultimately hopes college can serve as a stepping stone to professional soccer.
Pearson said Dalton, a midfielder, also got a late final push thanks to his performance in a 3-1 loss to Plantation American Heritage in the Class 3A state title game. He said Jacksonville University, which is where Dalton will play, was interested in Dalton, but finals was where the Dolphins bought in.
“It’s amazing,” said Dalton, who will study money management and finance. “You finally get the weight off your shoulders. You don’t have to worry about calling college coaches all the time when you’re going to play.”
Now Dalton and Davis can enjoy the remaining months of high school.
“It’s never off your mind when you’re trying to get recruited,” Dalton said.
Dalton and Davis join teammates Jake Frahm and Andy Garcia as part of Pearson’s latest group to sign with colleges.
“So many players come through over the last 15 years,” Pearson said. “They all have different aspirations and different goals, and to see them realize them all individually, it’s great.”