Jacob Maltos, Tyler Villalva, and Tanner Holladay have known each other for most of their lives, so it was only fitting that the three Lee Boys soccer players signed letters of intent to continue playing college-level at Lee High School on Thursday.
Maltos attends Shreiner University in Kerrville, Villalva National Park College in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Holladay signs a contract with the University of the Southwest in Hobbs, New Mexico.
“It’s an honor to sign with my team-mates,” said Villalva. “I grew up with Tanner and Jacob for as long as I can remember. Just being able to sign with both means a lot. “
“It’s great to be able to sign with the other guys. I’ve played with them all my life and I’m happy for them, ”said Holladay.
That’s four players from last season’s Rebel football team who signed up with college or university, and Jaden Johnson, who signed with Shreiner in March.
Maltos, who also played football for the rebels, said this was the day he had long dreamed of.
“To be here with my friends is an even bigger achievement,” he said. “I grew up with these two and everyone else I’ve played with for most of my life. A dream has come true for me and my family. “
Maltos, who was an All-District 2-6A award winner, said he was looking at other colleges when Johnson made his decision to go to Shreiner. He would soon get in touch with the Shreiner coaching staff and eventually make the decision to go there.
“I went there and they showed me the campus and I and my family really loved it,” said Maltos, who is likely to play in midfield. “They had everything I needed and wanted there. It just felt more welcoming than anywhere else I’ve been. “
Holladay is expected to play in the center-back at USW and also watched Shreiner.
“The University of the Southwest impressed me more,” said Holladay. “I went there one day to practice with them and had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the coach. I was more impressed by his coaching style than Shreiner.
“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to play at the next level and I’ve worked hard to get here.”
Villalva, who is likely to play outside at National Park College again, said one of his long-term goals is to play football at the next level and is excited about the opportunity too.
“I’m very happy to play at the next level,” said Villalva, a second pick from the All-District 2-6A team last season. “It finally shows that all the hard work I’ve done, all the time and the blood, sweat and tears I’ve put into the sport, I get the chance to keep going and get a good education at the same time .
“It’s a junior college and I know junior college is pretty competitive. I wanted to start a little smaller. I can get two years there, and if I can go to college from there, I’ll go to college and keep playing. “
Lee coach Chris Bryant said it is great for the program to take these players to the next level.
“To have three players who are following their dreams, hope that you have made a little impact and found a love for the game,” said Bryant. “I heard two of them go into kinesiology. Maybe one day when Coach Bryant retires, they can have my job.”
Follow Oscar on Twitter: @OLeRoy_MRT