Crusader inks with Coker College

May. 22, 2013 @ 01:00 PM

Marcus Velazquez transferred to Grace Christian with a few goals in mind.

“I came to Grace to build my relationship with the Lord, to excel academically and to try to earn a spot playing at the next level,” Velazquez said.

On Tuesday, the senior committed to continue his academic and athletic success accepting soccer and academic scholarships from Coker College.

“It came down to a few schools but coach (Paul) Leese (Coker head coach) really impressed me,” said Velazquez.  “He has been pursuing me since July. I’ve built a relationship with him and I really want to play for him.”

Velazquez helped guide the Crusaders to back-to-back state runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes in the NACA (National Association of Christian Athletes) National Tournament.  He guided the Crusaders to 55 wins and anchored a defense that allowed less than one goal per game in two seasons. Velazquez has earned NACA Defensive Player of the Year along with all-conference and all-tournament honors.

Grace Christian head coach Chris Pratt was thrilled for Velazquez.

“Marcus is a special player. He has spent hours on the field by himself and that’s why he is going to play at the next level. It’s rare to find a kid that outworks Marcus. I couldn’t be happier for him and coach Leese," Pratt said.

Coker, a NCAA Div. 2 program, is located in Hartsville, S.C. The Cobras have won two straight Conference Carolinas season championships. Coker finished 12-4-1 overall last season.

Velazquez chose Coker over Belmont Abbey, Columbia International and several other colleges.

“I’m just thankful to the Lord, my coaches, and my teammates for helping me reach one of my goals,” said Velazquez.