Grace's Depaz signs to play at Columbia International
Grace Christian senior Fernando Depaz signed a scholarship offer to attend and play soccer at Columbia International University in Columbia, S.C. on Thursday afternoon at Grace Christian School.
As an incoming freshman and new forward to the Ram soccer program, Depaz will have plenty of experience to gather once the Ram season gets going in August. Unlike with most any other college program, Depaz and his new freshmen teammates won't be very far behind the whole Ram roster.
Columbia International played its first varsity soccer campaign in 2012. In fact, the first Ram soccer match, a home game on Aug. 25, 2012, was CIU's first intercollegiate athletic event in the school's 89-year history.
The Rams, clearly with a freshman-heavy roster last fall, went 8-9-2 and reached the first round of the NCCAA (National Christian College Athletic Association) South Regionals.
Depaz, after being a star goalscorer for the Crusaders, is excited to continue playing and excited to become a college student, on and off the soccer pitch.
"Since I came to Grace, coach (Chris) Pratt has always pursued me to play college soccer and I've always wanted to," Depaz said.
"God showed me the school that's best for me and where He wants me to go," he said.
Depaz, a 6-foot-5 forward who's fast and agile along with his height and leaping ability, all of which served him well on the Crusader basketball squad as well, said he's excited to work with the Ram coaches for the next four years.
"We're excited to add Fernando to our recruiting class for 2013," said CIU head coach James Whitaker in a statement. "His size, speed and strength as a forward should allow him to make a big impact right away as a freshman.
"He's an outstanding young man and we're excited to see how God uses him while he's here at CIU," Whitaker said.
Depaz helped Grace Christian to back-to-back state runner-up finishes in the NCISAA 1A State Tournament.