Staying close to home was the major theme of the day when three Greenbrier High School soccer players signed their national letters of intent Thursday.
Reid Norton signed with Georgia Southern University, Daane Mallek signed with USC Aiken and heading the farthest was Luke Waechter, who signed with Charlotte.
For Norton, who had been looking at Wake Forest, North Carolina and Charlotte, it just made sense to play for the Eagles, especially since he was already very familiar with the program.
“I really liked Georgia Southern a lot and felt like they were the right fit,” Norton said. “It all kind of came together. I liked the coaches a lot and my brother (sophomore Hunter) is the captain down there. It just felt like home when I went down there.”
Another point in the school’s favor was that it offered a sports management major, which the other schools did not, and he called that a pretty big issue.
The Eagles will be getting a talent in Norton. He missed the Wolfpack’s 2011 season as he spent January through June training in Florida with the U-17 World Cup Team.
Waechter, a 2011 2-AAAA All-Region left back, will be heading to a 49ers team that was the 2011 national runner-up.
“There’s a lot of expectations for next year and I’m just excited to be a part of that and I’m hoping I can make my mark next year,” said Waechter, who plans on majoring in engineering. “I’ll definitely have to perform in practices. Academically I’m going to have to excel in that as well as soccer.”
Waechter looked at other colleges like Clemson and South Florida, where his sister, Kelsey, is a sophomore soccer player, but a trip to Charlotte last September convinced him.
After considering other offers, Mallek decided to play for the Pacers last week.
“The coach at USC Aiken, Ike (Ofoje) was my club coach the first year I moved here so that helped my decision quite a bit,” said Mallek, who said he liked the school’s academics as well as athletics.
The signing day was the end of a long process for Mallek.
“It legitimizes the feeling of relief,” Mallek said.
He had been looked at by some Division I schools, but he tore the ACL in his knee last fall, and after he let them know, he never heard back from them.