Both East Bladen soccer teams –girls and boys – have received the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for exemplary performance in the classroom as a team during the 2018-2019 school year.
“I am extremely proud of the kids,” said Jay Raynor who coaches both East Bladen soccer teams. “This honor is what high school sports is all about, being a student-athlete. It’s about being a student first and making sure to do it in the classroom before you set foot on the field. These kids are just as committed in the classroom as they are on the field.”
The Eagle girls posted a 3.90-grade point average as a team, while the boys recorded a 3.70 GPA. A 3.25 team GPA was required to qualify for the award.
“We have been blessed to win games and championships on the field but this honor to me is more important than those other accolades,” stated Raynor. “I love the competition and the game but that has an expiration date. Education and knowledge don’t. These young people get it and I am just proud that I get to be part of their accomplishments.”
A total of 286 teams -174 girls teams and 112 boys teams – from around the country received the recognition. East Bladen was one of only 28 schools that had both their girls and boys teams honored.
“This honor doesn’t just celebrate the soccer players but also celebrates the parents, teachers, coaches, athletic director, guidance counselors and administrators at East Bladen High School,” noted Raynor. “A majority of these kids were multiple sports athletes and many adults played a huge part in pushing and guiding them in life and their work in the classroom. I would like to thank all of the adults who have worked hard to mentor and guide these young people.”
Raynor added, “This past year’s teams have set the bar high, but there is room to set it even higher.”