February 27, 2010 10:59:00 PM
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Cameron Newman isn''t all about soccer.
The Columbus High School senior loves the game, but he also knows the importance of getting a quality education.
Newman has his sights set on majoring in psychology, and he knows Meridian Community College''s reputation as one of the state''s top junior colleges would help him take his first step toward realizing that goal.
It doesn''t hurt that Newman also will get a chance to play soccer at MCC.
On Friday, Newman made it official when he signed a letter of intent to attend MCC.
"It says a lot," Newman said. "I have worked really hard, and this seems like the right thing to do. I feel as though it is going to help me become a better player. I don''t know what the level after college is, but I hope this will help better prepare me for the next level."
Newman plans to attend Delta State after graduating from MCC. He hopes he will be able to continue his soccer career there.
At Columbus High, Newman had five goals and seven assists this season as a midfielder. The 5-foot-11, 142-pounder also played on the wing for the Falcons.
Newman said he initiated contact with MCC by filling out a questionnaire online. He said it didn''t take long for MCC coach Alex George to contact him and to invite him to campus for a workout late last month.
Newman said he enjoyed the experience, the players, and the campus and knew MCC was the place for him. He also had interest from East Mississippi Community College, Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Hinds Community College.
"From what I experienced with the players at MCC, I think I am going to mesh in with them well," Newman said. "Soccer is a team sport. Hopefully the guys down there think like I do."
That shouldn''t be a problem, at least in the classroom. MCC''s soccer page says the school ranks No. 1 on the GPA (grade-point average) transfer quality indicator for an 11th straight year. It also says it ranks No. 1 in the state with a student-athlete graduation rate of 96.2 percent, and that it has the top graduation rate among all community colleges in the state.
That sits well with Newman, who said he is all about academics.
Newman also likes to take a cerebral approach to the game. He said he enjoys "conducting" the attack and thinking one or two passes ahead to find the best option for his team.
Newman played for only one year with the Columbus varsity team. He played for Columbus coach Javier Esquivel for four years with the Columbus United club team. He believes the experience at the club level helped him transition to high school, and that both will help him make the jump to college.
"Meridian has a good team, so I imagine the adjustment will be kind of hard, but I think I will be able to handle it," Newman said.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.