Two Callaway soccer players sign to play at the next level

Published 9:20 am Saturday, May 13, 2023

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The Callaway boys soccer team saw two of its home grown players announce their next step in their academic and athletic careers. Nelson Herrera and Eli Jones formed a formidable senior partnership on the field and got a chance to share the table on their signing days on Friday. 

Herrera announced that he will be moving to North Carolina to continue his soccer journey at Warren Wilson while Jones is keeping it close to home, announcing that he will be attending Point University, an easy decision once he found out one of his good friends from Troup High would be going there to play soccer as well.

“Point signed Nolan Barton and I talked with him about Point and that really helped me make a decision,” Jones said. 

Herrera will not be staying close to home. His college adventure will feel a world away from LaGrange as he adjusts to life in the Appalachian Mountains. Herrera is always looking for a new challenge.

“Part of me was feeling like I’m going to miss my family and friends, but then at the same time I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and get to meet some new people.

“I wanted a college that feels like home, I couldn’t care less about if the team is good or not. For me, it was about how the coaches act and the players act.”

Herrera is moving out of comfort zone, but said that Warren Wilson felt like home when he visited. Jones is being pushed out of his comfort zone simply by going to college. The senior was not sure that he would be attending college but once the offer from Point came, it was an opportunity he felt like he could not pass up.

“I really did not plan to go to college at all, but I talked to the coaches at Point, and they really convinced me that this would be best for me,” Jones said. 

Both of these individuals have been leaders for the Cavaliers team and head coach Mike Petite said that they will be dearly missed but that he fully expects them to take those leadership qualities to the next level even if they are some of the youngest players on their new teams.

While the two share a friendship, a bond and many of the same interests, they came from completely different soccer backgrounds. Herrera has played his entire life and has always hoped to take soccer to its limits while Jones did not fall in love with soccer until his later high school years.

“If you would have asked me two or three years ago if Eli Jones would be sitting here signing to play college soccer my answer would have been no, and Eli’s answer would have been the same,” Petite said. 

The two depart as two of the winningest players in Cavalier soccer history as they were major factors in the 2022 Cavaliers setting the program record for wins with 15. To be a part of the Callaway soccer family has meant everything to the duo.

“I grew up with this team,” Herrera said. “It was a clique. I fell in love with the Callaway soccer program. They have shown me what it means to be a Cavalier.”