COVINGTON - Ten years of perfecting his craft is going to pay off for Eastside's Caleb Kernan.
The Eagles senior recently signed with the Georgia State Panthers to play soccer.
Making the decision to play for the Panthers was not all that difficult for Kernan. Not only does he get to play for a Division I school, but he is also familiar with their head coach, Kerem Daser.
"D-I helped and I knew Kerem. He used to coach with (youth soccer), so we're kind of familiar with each other," Kernan said. "When I toured the campus it was attractive. The rooms were nice and it was in the middle of the city. I made new friends and everyone seemed real nice."
Kernan started his high school career at Newton before moving to Eastside two years ago. As a member of the Newton Rams, Kernan led the team in scoring with 30 goals in his sophomore season and was named to The Citizen All-Area team.
When Kernan takes the field at Georgia State, he will be playing forward under Daser's single-forward system.
While Kernan is used to playing at a higher-level of soccer playing with club teams, he has learned a lot playing at the high school level.
"Playing in high school helped get better at dribbling and keeping in shape. We do a lot of conditioning here," he said. "It's helped me think more about where the players are and slowing down my pace to help me think about the play."
Athough it will be next year by the time Kernan puts on the Panthers uniform, he already has some specific goals in mind.
"My goals," Kernan said, "are to start my first year, score a goal and get familiar with the program."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.