Waccamaw High School’s Sam Mauney, fourth from left, celebrates with teammates after signing to play soccer at the University of South Carolina – Sumter.
By Chris Sokoloski
Waccamaw High School senior Sam Mauney signed a scholarship offer to play soccer at the University of South Carolina - Sumter.
"It's means a lot to be able to go to such a great school and to be able to play soccer and get my degree at the same time," Mauney said.
"Sam's a great student-athlete," USC - Sumter coach Otis Holloway said. "He's a great person. He's just a really good kid and he comes from a great family and that's what we look for."
"There's nobody who's worked harder than he has in his four years here," Waccamaw coach Ben Schoen said. "He paid his dues early, sat on the bench for a couple of years. if you work really hard good things will happen."
Mauney will join Waccamaw teammate Taylor King on the Fire Ants squad.
"That helps a lot," Mauney. "I know I'm not going up there not knowing anybody. It helps knowing there's somebody going through the same thing as me."
"Having somebody from home cuts down on his homesickness," Holloway said. "They can lean on one another. It's good to have a friend there, somebody that you've known for a long time."
Holloway said Mauney will have a chance to play as a freshman.
"I can put him anywhere on the field and he can play," Holloway said. "I really like his defensive presence and he's a good mid-fielder as well. He's very physical and he just seems to know where the ball is going to be going."
"When he's out there he gives 100 percent and this year he turned into one of our very solid players, dependable all the time," Schoen said. "His work ethic is second to none."
Mauney and both coaches agree the speed of the game is the biggest adjustment for high school players when they get to college.
"It's a little bit bigger stage," Holloway said. "Everybody's bigger.Everybody's stronger."
"Touches will have to be way more perfect," Mauney said.
"All of the sudden everybody was the best player on their high school team," Schoen said. "They're biggest, they're faster, they're better."
Mauney plans to study business, and would welcome the opportunity to continue his education and playing soccer at another school when his two years at USC - Sumter are complete. Fire Ants have gone on to play soccer at Erskine and Coker colleges and USC - Aiken, among other schools.
His goal is to one day open a local franchise of a national company.
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