As a sweeper on the Evans High School soccer team, Jeung Won Montoya doesn’t put up a lot of gaudy numbers that pad his stats.
But his skills, work ethic and personal character were strong enough to get him noticed, and next year he’ll attend Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Ga., on a soccer scholarship.
Surrounded by family and teammates in the Evans media center, Montoya signed the paperwork Friday to attend the private Christian school next year.
“He works hard,” said Evans boys coach Brian Killips. “He’s always trying to get better.”
Montoya picked up a starting role during his freshman year and has been a starter ever since as the “last line of defense” in front of the goalkeeper, Killips said.
Emmanuel’s head men’s soccer coach, Scott Borchers, said he first saw Montoya play two years ago when the club team on which Montoya also plays held a preseason scrimmage against Emmanuel.
“His technical ability was very strong; his knowledge of the game was very good. But the trait that drew me to him most was his character,” Borchers said.
The school’s welcoming atmosphere helped cement his decision, Montoya said.
“I really like coach Borchers, and I really like the team,” Montoya said. “I really like the team chemistry. I really like the team bonding. When I visited there, they were all friendly and nice. I was having a good time – I really liked the atmosphere.”
Montoya will join a team that plays in the NAIA and last year notched a 10-8-2 record, making it to the Southern region semifinals. Many of those players will be back next year, so Montoya will have to compete for playing time.
“We return a good group of guys,” Borcher said. “He’s going to be one of many battling for a position, but if you’re good enough you’re going to play.”
Montoya is confident he’ll take the field next fall.
“As long as I train hard this summer and prepare myself for college soccer, I think I’ll have a pretty good chance of seeing some playing time,” he said.
As for the remainder of his senior season with Evans, “This is the year we’ve been waiting for,” he said.
Montoya plans to study kiniesiology and become a physical therapist.