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Ward signs for soccer with University of the Cumberlands

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By Robby O'Daniel

Sometimes destiny calls, and one has to choose whether to take the call or not.

It was around the middle of June, and though he had graduated a month ago, Campbell County High School alumnus Jacob Ward was out on the soccer field at CCHS, kicking the ball around when he received a phone call.

It was a number he didn’t have saved into his phone. It ended up being the call that changed the trajectory of his life.

“He said, ‘Hey, is this Jake?’ And I was like, ‘yes,’ and he was like, ‘This is the coach from the University of the Cumberlands,’ and it just went from there,” Ward said.

Ward signed to play soccer with the University of the Cumberlands on Tuesday morning at CCHS.

“It was at the end of the season, and we played our last match,” Ward said. “And my buddy, Matt [Laxton], on the team, he’s going to the Cumberlands. He was like, ‘Hey, man, have you looked at any colleges?’ And I had a few colleges that I had in mind and a few that were looking at me, but I just had something for the Cumberlands and so after the school year was over, I went up there and the coach invited me to come look at the school and to meet the players. So I went up there and met, and it just felt like home.”

Ward made the decision at the end of June.

“Well it’s not too far from here, but it’s far enough to where I can get away from home, to be a little independent, and it’s just, the whole school, the staff, the teachers, everyone is just so family-oriented,” Ward said.

Now things move faster. Ward will move Monday.

Soccer is a sport that Ward has played since age 4.

“I started off, when I was younger, I was in all sports — basketball, football, baseball — and it just, as I got older, time would get more precious, so I had to pick a sport because it made it longer and longer to practice,” Ward said. “And so I just weed them out as the ones I didn’t really like. And I was a very fast-paced person and always wanted to be doing something, so I think that’s why soccer fit the best for me because you never stop.”

Ward played all four years at CCHS.

“My best memories at Campbell County were probably just practices with the team,” Ward said. “… We were just a big group that always wanted to strive to be the best, and we accomplished some goals that’s never been accomplished here before. And in our four years, we’ve had over 40 wins, and it’s just a good feeling.”