Like most area Columbia County high school students, Will Dunaway can't wait for the Thanksgiving break.
Though most students plan to pig out on turkey and stuffing, Dunaway said, he's not quite sure what his Thanksgiving meal will include.
"It'll be whatever they feed me on the plane, I guess," he said.
Dunaway, a junior at Greenbrier High School, will be traveling to Austin, Texas, on Thanksgiving Day to play in the U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program's Boys Thanksgiving Interregional beginning Friday.
Dunaway was chosen for the event after earning one of the 18 spots on the Southeast Division's Region 3 Pool. More than 500 soccer players from the Southeast competed for a chance to go to Austin.
The tournament will feature some of the best competition in the nation, and a good performance from Dunaway could get him selected to participate in the Adidas Super Group at the Disney Soccer Showcase in Orlando, Fla., during the Christmas holidays.
Although Dunaway will miss his family's Thanksgiving meal, his mother, Pam Dunaway, said she understands the situation.
"Obviously, I prefer to have him at home, but he's following his dream," she said.
Will Dunaway's dream extends further than the holiday soccer tournament. After completing two more seasons at Greenbrier, he said, he'd like to land a spot on the roster of a top Atlantic Coast Conference college.
Dunaway already has taken steps in the right direction. His club team, Cobb Futbol Club, won the Region 3 Premier League East Division on Nov. 13 in Raleigh, N.C. The victory gives Dunaway's team an automatic bid to the regional championships in Little Rock, Ark., in June.
The tournament means more exposure and attention from NCAA soccer coaches. Dunaway said several coaches will be in Austin, Texas, for the Thanksgiving tournament.
"It's a great way to get a good look from colleges," he said. "I'd like to end up at Wake Forest."
Dunaway's trainer, Graeme Connelly, said he wouldn't be surprised to see Dunaway play at the next level.
"He's progressed unbelievably," Connelly said.
"His main strength is his soccer brain. That's hard to teach," he said.
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