ATASCADERO — The aisles that lead to the athletic office at Atascadero High School were full of smiling friends, teachers, coaches and family on Monday as everyone gathered to watch Nick Garza sign his NCAA National Letter of Intent to Holy Names University in Oakland to play soccer.
Most notably, just about every single player from the Greyhounds soccer team was at the ceremony and stayed until the very end, after pictures, and after interviews to support their teammate.
“I wouldn’t be out here without them, the training, the hours, the things that we have done together,” Garza said. “I think I was a little more fortunate because my parents are just so involved with everything, they took me to all these camps and spent all this money, because talent wise those guys- they are talented guys they could definitely be playing but I think I was just fortunate and blessed with great parents.”
Garza, along with six other Greyhound seniors, played varsity for all four years that they have been in high school. The best year the group had together was their sophomore year when they finished the season 12-11-1. This season, the Hounds had to battle through some key injuries and finished with only three wins.
Holy Names University is a private, Catholic, Division II school in Oakland. Garza will train locally over the summer using a regimen sent to him by the assistant coaches from the team and can’t wait to get to it.
“Before I committed to a college I was just like emailing coaches, looking for camps to go to — it was really stressful,” Garza said. “So now that I’ve got that on I just want to focus on my training because I am on the team, but I want to play a lot, I want to make something out of that too. So I will focus more on the training.”
Location was a big factor in Garza’s decision.
“I really wanted to stay in the state to where I could see my parents on the weekends if they want to come by or watch a game,” he said.
The former soccer captain anchored the Greyhound defense and may very well be most comfortable in the back half, but his coach JT Camp thinks he has the ability to play anywhere in college.
“He has the soccer intelligence that he needs,” Camp said. “I think he is the type of kid that you could plug in anywhere and he will do a great job for you.”