EAST BEND — Coaches often show praise to a player who executes her tasks with the entire team in mind. Forbush senior Paige Keaton is a perfect example of that kind of player.
Keaton signed with Catawba College Friday in front of teammates, coaches and family. Keaton, an all-around athlete for the Falcons, has been fortunate to be part of a program that made it all the way to the state championship last year. Through hard work, Keaton has realized her goal of becoming a college soccer player.
“It’s very exciting, and I owe all my success to God, all my teammates who have pushed me, my coach has pushed me ever since I was in fifth grade, I truly owe it to God, he’s been with me every step of the way,” Keaton said.
Falcons Head Coach Kenan James has worked with Keaton since she was about 10-years old, and in the years passing, James said he’s seen her grow as a player and teammate.
“I’ve seen that drive in her, that determination and focus,” James said. “It’s good to have a player on your team that has those goals, not just short-term goals but long-term for herself and her team, it just helps drive the team in the right direction.”
Keaton said she is excited about Catawba academically for its nursing program, because she wants to make people feel better. It’s fitting, because despite losing in 2A Soccer Championship last year, Keaton was given the Wells Fargo Sportsmanship Award.
“She’s a competitor, but she’ll be the player to pat a teammate on the back, pray with them, I’ve seen her pray with injured players in club soccer. She’s just that type of player,” James said. “I’m proud of her. I’m so thankful she has the opportunity. They’re getting a good one.”
As Keaton prepares for the next chapter of her life, there’s still one that’s left unwritten for now. Her final season with the Falcons begins later this month when they take on East Wilkes.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.