March 20, 2009
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
Seth Wood didn''t want to make the wrong choice.
As much as he was interested in accepting a scholarship to play soccer at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, Ark., Wood realized the school really didn''t have a field of study that suited him.
Wood didn''t eliminate Williams Baptist, but he decided to finish his high school soccer season and what other offers came his way.
When Wood received a call from East Mississippi Community College men''s soccer coach Junior Noel, he had a feeling he had found his destination.
Wood made that decision final Friday when he signed a national letter of intent to play soccer for EMCC in the fall.
Wood admits he still isn''t sure what he will major in at EMCC, but he said he feels better going to Scooba and taking care of his core requirements.
It helps that he also will get a chance to keep playing soccer.
"I heard from people who played there that the program has been getting better since coach Noel got there," Wood said. "He is a retired professional, so I figure he has to know something about soccer."
Noel, who is from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean, played professionally in Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi.
During his high school playing days, he was a member of Trinidad and Tobago''s National Team.
In 2008, EMCC finished 1-12-1.
Wood said he didn''t have to try out or go through an evaluation to earn the offer from Noel. He said he asked Noel if he had ever seen him play and Noel said no.
"He said he had just heard a lot of good things about me," said Wood, who didn''t talk with Noel about where he might fit in with the program.
As a senior at Caledonia High School this past season, Wood had 16 goals and two assists and was a driving force behind the Confederates'' deepest run in the state tournament. Pearl defeated Caledonia 6-1 in the Class 4A North Half State title game.
Wood, a midfielder, spent most of the season teaming with senior forward Taylor Chisolm and making life miserable for defenses.
Wood and Chisolm both used their speed to beat defenders on the flank or to get behind defenses to create scoring opportunities.
Caledonia coach Morgan Mansfield said Wood has the potential to make things happen at EMCC.
"He has some good quickness and a good shot," Mansfield said. "When he gets to EMCC they will put a few more skills with him and he should be able to make an immediate impact. It should be an easy transition."
Mansfield said Wood likely would play forward at EMCC.
Wood said he is more concerned with getting a chance to play in college than he is with which position he will be in.
"I have been hoping I would play in college ever since I started playing when I was 4 years old," Wood said. "Going to college to play soccer is a big step and a big accomplishment for me. I hope to play two years (at EMCC) and better myself and go to maybe a higher-ranked team for soccer."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.