Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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May 30, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER: First in his family

Castaneda signs college letter of intent to play soccer with Faulkner University in Alabama

ATHENS — The Athens Hornets soccer program picked up its first college signee of the year in senior forward/midfielder Bryant Castaneda.

The team captain for head coach Jonathan Ryal’s program signed with Faulkner University in Montgomery, Ala.

“I am actually kind of scared because I am not sure what the skill level or the competition will be like up there,” Castaneda said.

Bryant is the first in his family to attend college and Ryal said Castaneda is the first four-year signee under his watch.

“Bryant is kind of an ambassador for the Athens program,” “Other kids coming behind him have seen him succeed and get a college scholarship.”

The Eagles finished the 2012 season with a record of 4-12-2 and look to rebuild under first year head coach Kyle Beard.

Castaneda said Beard would like to use him as a defenseman/midfielder during his freshman year.

Bryant said he has a special goal in mind.

“I would like to try and become a captain up there like I did here,” Castaneda said. “I think that would be a big accomplishment.”

Athletic director Paul Essary said he was proud of Bryant signing to play at the next level.

“If it is through athletics, it makes it even sweeter for me as an athletic director,” Essary said.

The road to Faulkner came during a trip to the campus on spring break with a former player and two of Bryant’s classmates this season.

“I got a call saying the coach wanted him and he is looking for all sorts of pieces,” Ryal said. “The coach really wanted him bad and he has to know that he is good enough to play there.”

Castaneda said he is following a key statement that Ryal told him throughout his career.

“Coach Ryal always told me to get my work done first and then play soccer too,” Castaneda said. “Everybody has been telling me to do that.”

Castaneda will graduate Athens ISD next Friday night.


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