At Carver High School, the talk about athletics centers on football and basketball. That changed last Thursday, when soccer took the spotlight for the afternoon.
Deontae Golden accomplished a milestone at Carver, becoming the first Tiger to ever sign a soccer scholarship. Golden is set to play collegiately at Penn State Beaver, located in Monaca, Pa.
“It’s probably one of the greatest feelings in the world to come from a school that’s not soccer-based and more about football to go to a school like Penn State Beaver,” Golden said. “It’s a really big honor to me. It’s something that makes me proud, as well as my family.”
Golden has been playing soccer for eight years. He explained that along with having a natural attraction to the sport, he dedicated himself to it because of his size. At 5-foot-5, 130 pounds, Golden’s options in other sports would be fairly limited.
That’s not the same in soccer, where a player’s size doesn’t necessarily put him at a disadvantage.
“I’m smaller than most players for any other sport,” Golden said. “Having a sport like soccer where there’s no discrimination for size has allowed me to branch out more as an athlete than any other sport would have. Soccer gave me the passion to grow not only as athlete but as a student to push on and do better.”
Golden had the goal of playing soccer at the next level. Instead of waiting around for a college coach to somehow find him, he took matters into his own hands.
Along with going to various camps and playing club soccer, Golden was active on different recruiting websites such as BeRecruited in an effort to catch someone’s eye. Eventually, coaches at Penn State Beaver took notice and attended some of Golden’s club soccer games.
After the initial interest, Golden learned about the school’s strong mechanical engineering program, which is his intended major. The opportunity coupled with the promise of a good education led Golden to sign with the school.
Though Golden did things outside his high school team to achieve his soccer aspirations, coach Lamont Burton stressed how important he’s been to Carver.
“Deontae, from the first time I met him, he was always ambitious and always had his hands in multiple things,” Burton said. “Anything he touched, he did well at – inside the classroom, soccer, helping behind the scenes and helping with other sports. Whether it was managing or filming games, he was always supportive of the programs here.”
Burton said he uses Golden as an example to the team’s underclassmen, explaining he could be a trendsetter if they follow his example. As Burton explained, Golden proved your high school doesn’t limit your options as long as you put in the work.
Golden also believes even though he was the first, he shouldn’t be the last Carver soccer player to get a spot at the next level.
“All you have to do is put yourself out there,” Golden said. “Don’t only play high school soccer but also club soccer, because it will open up your opportunities. Visit camps as often as you can. Do what you can to put yourself out there – don’t wait around for your coach to do for you.
“If I can do it, you can, too.”