ASHEVILLE – Aidan O’Brien had a lot of options.
The University of South Carolina made a good impression on the Asheville High junior who plays his club soccer in the Palmetto State and has an upcoming semi-pro opportunity in Tennessee.
O’Brien confirmed that he has committed to the Gamecocks, choosing them over Notre Dame, Memphis, Charlotte, Radford, Presbyterian and Lander.
“I toured a bunch of different schools,” O’Brien said.
“The atmosphere and culture at South Carolina made it where I could really see myself playing there.”
O’Brien only played about half of the 2015 season for the Cougars (20-4-2) during their run to the 3-A Western Regional championship game. O’Brien often ran into conflicts with this club team – the Carolina Elite Soccer Academy 98 Premier out of Greenville, S.C.
“I had a talk before the year with (Asheville coach Mike Flowe) and we agreed that I was going to get recruited more through my club,” O’Brien said.
“I tried to play as many games as I could (for the Cougars) because I knew we would probably have a good team. I’ll probably play a bit more now that I know where I’m going to play in college.”
Flowe is excited about that prospect.
“Aidan is a great player and we’re happy for him,” Flowe said.
“I know that he got some great exposure (through CESA) and made the most of it.”
O’Brien had a tryout in February for the Premier Development League’s Tri-Cities (Tenn.) Football Club. It is considered the country’s top league for amateur players and O’Brien (17 years old) figures to be the youngest player for Tri-Cities which operates out of Johnson City, Tenn.