When Rader Massey surveyed the opportunities to play college soccer, the landscape for that ambition was nearly barren in Louisiana.
That didn’t matter, however, as coaches from Northern Kentucky had their eyes on Massey all along.
Massey’s goal of continuing his soccer career were reached last week when he signed a scholarship at Northern Kentucky, a former Division II national champion with a growing program.
The Westminster Christian Academy defender said Northern Kentucky, which has now joined Division 1 in soccer, is the suitable choice to continue playing the physical type of game that initially attracted the recruiters’ attention.
“There is really nothing (available) in Louisiana when it comes to men’s soccer programs. There are one or two in Mississippi, but the schools that play soccer are mainly in the Northeast,” Massey said.
Massey said the recruiting pursuit for him came through his club soccer team, where coach Mike Ritch had connections with the Northern Kentucky coaches.
“Coach Ritch knows the coach at Northern Kentucky and (Ritch) suggested that he come down and watch us. I really liked the conversations that I had with the Northern Kentucky coach and this past summer I toured the school,” Massey said.
Massey, who has scored 11 goals and supplied eight assists as a defender, said he will have an opportunity to assimilate into the Northern Kentucky soccer program almost immediately.
“When I talked to the coach, he told me there is already a senior center back there. I can come in and play alongside him and learn their system, so I can be set up to play there,” Massey said.
WCA soccer coach Aaron Coon said Massey’s chances of playing immediately look favorable.
“From what the coaches (at Northern Kentucky) said, Rader has a good chance to be a contributor there, rather than sitting on the bench.
“I think the coaches there are looking for someone with leadership ability and (Massey) is a good leader,” said Coon.
Coon said the Lafayette club soccer program enabled Massey to have more choices when it came to playing college soccer.
Massey and the Crusaders still have the Division III playoffs in front of them, with a second-round matchup scheduled at WCA against District 5-2A rival Catholic High-New Iberia on Thursday, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
This season Massey has scored 11 goals and supplied eight assists.
Massey, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior, describes himself as a physical player.
“I like going up against players and knocking bodies, stuff like that. That type of soccer appeals to me; it’s what I was meant for,” said Massey, who plans to major in biological sciences.
Coon said Massey has skill sets that not many players possess.
“Rader’s not the tallest guy, but he’s strong and he also happens to be a defender that scores. One of his qualities is that he is a leader, sort of like the Peyton Manning-guy on the team who is real physical,” said Coon.