Arroyo signs to play at Francis Marion
By Barry Byers The Herald
(Published April 28‚ 2006)
Northwestern soccer standout Nathan Arroyo was declared ineligible to play this season by the South Carolina High School League's executive committee.
That doesn't mean his story has an unhappy ending. Arroyo signed a scholarship with Francis Marion University on Tuesday. And although he wasn't allowed to play, he's manager/captain/assistant coach of a Trojans team that is ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA and favored to win the state championship.
Arroyo has stayed active in soccer. He plays for a club team out of Greenville that competes against smaller colleges. On one of those trips, he was spotted by Francis Marion coach Murray Hartzler.
"We had matches against Newberry and Francis Marion in Florence, and the coach said he was interested in me coming there to play for his team,'' said Arroyo, the son of Stacy and Lisa Winne. "He said he liked the way I control the ball, my one-on-one skills, my speed and the way I finish.
"This is a good opportunity. I look forward to taking the next step in my career. Francis Marion has a good program, and I want to go in and make an impact any way I can.''
Francis Marion competes in NCAA Division II.
Arroyo led the state in scoring with 45 goals and 121 points last year as a junior and was the state's Class AAAA Player of the Year. He was ruled ineligible after it was found he repeated the ninth grade in Atlanta and had exhausted his high school eligibility of eight consecutive semesters.
"It was tough at first, standing on the sideline watching the other guys play,'' he said. "But playing club soccer, working with the team here at Northwestern and getting a scholarship has helped ease the pain.
"My club team has played more than 20 games, so I've been in a lot of matches. I'm very proud of the season Northwestern is having. This is a special team, and they've stood beside me all the way.''
Arroyo is undecided on a major.
Barry Byers • 329-4099