A Greenbrier High School soccer player and a Lakeside High lacrosse star each signed letters of intent last week to continue their athletic careers at the college level.
Unlike most signing ceremonies, Greenbrier senior Nadiaa Maaouia didn’t hold hers at her school.
Instead, she held it Thursday at Patriot’s Park, where she announced she would be playing soccer for Columbus State University in the fall.
After growing up in Rota, Spain, Maaouia moved to the area seven years ago. In that time, she kept eyeing the Cougars.
“I watched them play since we moved here in 2005,” Maaouia said, noting that she and her mother watched them every year at the Peach Belt Tournament. “We really liked the way they played.”
The future criminal justice major liked the school’s curriculum, and is heading to a team that was 16-4-3 in 2011 while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Maaouia credited the GA-SC Bulls Soccer Club, which played host to her signing event, as the reason she got a chance to play college soccer.
“Jason Spinks was calling people to come out and watch me, and he’s made me a lot better,” Maaouia said of Spinks, who coaches Maaouia on the 18 Girls Red team. “I’m a defender, and he also taught me how to play offense. He’s really shaped me into a much better player. The Bulls had everything to do with it.”
While Spinks acknowledged he was able to tap into his network of contacts to get someone to look at Maaouia, he said that she was the one who ultimately turned heads.
“She has one of the hardest work ethics,” Spinks said. “Her knowledge is always growing and she wants to be the best. She’ll be a great fit at Columbus State University.”
Lakeside’s Justin Wells held a ceremony Friday to signal his intent to play lacrosse at Reinhardt University.
There were a few variables that figured into the senior attacker’s decision.
“It’s a great program with a great coach and a good opportunity to play at the next level,” said Wells, who plans to study business. “Plus, it’s not far from Atlanta.”
In 2011, Wells led the Panthers with 33 goals and 15 assists, numbers he wants to beat in 2012. He’s on his way thus far with eight goals in two games.
His strong showing in 2011 warranted an invitation to a recruiting showcase during the summer, where he was noticed by college coaches.
“I had a bunch of other offers, but Reinhardt seemed like the best one to go to,” Wells said.
When Wells came out for the team in eighth grade, head coach Ron Ritter wasn’t sure he would be able to last the year, let alone be in a position to play at the college level.
“He works hard,” said Ritter. “He’s proved he could do it.”