Though Soldotna High School senior Blaine Carver receives recognition for draining points on the basketball court, it's his production on the soccer field that caught a college coach's attention.
Carver recently signed a letter of intent to play soccer at Seattle Pacific University, a NCAA Division II program.
"I'm really excited to go to Seattle next year," Carver said in an interview Thursday.
Carver made a verbal commitment to SPU last fall, but was relieved to officially commit to the program.
"Just to sign that, it just got a lot off my shoulders," he said.
"The first time we saw Blaine was a year ago at a tournament in Arizona, and he caught our attention because he was dangerous in the attacking third of the field," SPU soccer coach Mark Collings said in a written statement released by the university on Feb. 4. "We believe that Blaine will provide us with another dangerous threat to score goals."
In three seasons on SoHi's varsity squad, Carver has amassed 77 goals.
"Being able to put the ball in the net is what coaches look for," said SoHi soccer coach Jeff Siemers, who's coached Carver each of his three seasons on varsity.
Of all the attributes of Carver's game, his goal-scoring ability reigns supreme, Siemers said.
"I think that's really what SPU is looking for," he added.
In 2009, Carver was named the Alaska Gatorade player of the year and Northern Lights Conference MVP. As a sophomore, Carver was a first-team, all-conference selection and a member of the second-place state cup Matanuska Soccer Club.
Carver's athletic ability combined with academic achievements -- he has a 4.077 grade point average -- make him an ideal candidate for college soccer, Siemers said.
"I think it was great that he was able to secure a spot on a good team," Siemers said. "It's good to see someone from the peninsula signing on a team outside of the state."
Siemers said he was not surprised that Carver will be playing soccer at the collegiate level.
"He's a smart player and athletic and fast," he said.
Boise High School student Conner Meppen's signing was announced the same day as Carver's.
"This is always a fun day for all of us. We feel like we're adding two great young men to our program that will add to our solid group of returning players," Collings said. "Both Connor and Blaine attended our camp last summer, which enabled us to get a really good feel for both of them on a personal level. Of course their play on the field was sharp as well."
Prior to attending the camp last summer, Collings saw Carver play in a showcase tournament last February in Arizona. They remained in contact and discussed his commitment to SPU at the camp, Carver said.
Carver, who plans on majoring in business administration and management with a concentration in finance, said staying closer to Alaska drew him to SPU.
During his freshman year, Carver decided to pursue playing soccer at the college level, he said. He began attending camps and working on improving his game.
Carver said he couldn't pinpoint exactly what he loves about the game.
"I've just always liked soccer," he said.
Last season, SPU posted a record of 11-5-3, a five-win improvement from the previous season (6-10-3). At 4-3-1, the Falcons took third place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Nine starters return to this year's team. Four seniors graduated from last year's squad.
"With the majority of our team returning next fall, we were forced to be pretty selective with our recruiting," Collings said. "We feel like both of these young men exemplify what we were looking for and it all starts with the fact that both of them are exceptional students."
Carver's collegiate career will begin at training camp this August.
"I'm definitely excited, but also nervous," Carver said. "I feel pretty confident that I'll be able to contribute to the program the next four years."
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