As team captain, Mitch McBride provided leadership to the Victory Christian School soccer team as it posted an 8-5 regular-season record en route to winning its second consecutive state title last month.
"Mitch is the most versatile player on the team," said Joseph Martin, soccer coach at the North Augusta school. "He's played everything from offensive striker to keeper."
McBride, a senior, was named all-tournament in the state championship in Greenville on Oct. 28.
The team won the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools 1A title in a two-game playoff series.
In the first game, Victory Christian defeated Easley Christian School 3-0 on Oct. 27.
On Oct. 28, the team won 1-0 over Westgate Christian School.
McBride said he tried to keep his teammates focused going into the state championship matches.
One of his strengths as captain, he said, is his ability to know what his teammates should be doing on the field.
McBride had never played soccer until three years ago, and his lack of experience showed. "I was pathetic, but I worked at it really hard," he said.
He said he initially tried out for the team at the urging of some friends. Before that, McBride had played only basketball.
"They had lost a lot of people," he said of the soccer team.
Although he spent most of this season playing in defensive positions, McBride scored nine goals, a career high.
McBride said he enjoys the nonstop action of soccer. "I love the contact. It's a fast-paced game with no breaks or time outs," he said.
McBride said he would like to continue with the sport after high school. He said he will attend the University of South Carolina Aiken and study business.
"I plan on trying out (for the USC Aiken team)," he said.
After he completes his studies at USC Aiken, he said he plans to go to Victory Baptist College and study theology.
"I feel like God has been calling me to preach," he said.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.