SPRINGFIELD — Effingham County soccer player Elijah Clark will carry something extra with him when he arrives at Reinhardt University this fall.
During a signing ceremony in the Effingham County gym lobby Friday morning, Reinhardt assistant coach Zack Schultze made it clear that his expectations for the Rebels goalie are lofty.
Schultze said, “We are looking forward to having you, man. No pressure, but we are expecting some big things from you.”
Schultze’s remark drew laughter from the audience and put a smile on Clark’s face. Clark, however, is embracing the challenge of making an immediate impact for the NAIA Eagles of Waleska quite seriously.
“I know I have the ability to go there and perform,” Clark said. “Now I just have to put my head down and start working hard and see what I can do out there.”
Clark worked diligently to earn his college opportunity.
“I just got done telling someone (in the gym lobby) that Elijah is the first young man that I’ve had to go out and do this on his own,” Rebels head coach Matt Vickery said. “All we did was — one day on the bus — is sit down with him and go over some things about a Twitter account and get his stuff out there. After that, he hit the ground running.”
Vickery noted that Clark is a on and off the field, which is evident in the player's choice of nursing as a career.
“I’ve been settled on that the past year or two,” Clark said. “It’s really what I want to be. Pediatric nursing, actually.”
Clark won’t let his college future distract him from the present, however. He has high hopes for the Rebels this season.
“Our goal is to win (Region 2-AAAAAA),” he said. “We have the talent for it and we have the ability to do it.”
The Rebels are a senior-laden team.
“We have playing together since we were sophomores as starters,” he said.