Soccer teammates commit to Barton

Published 1:24 pm Saturday, April 7, 2012

By Thadd White/Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald

AHOSKIE, N.C.—Two Ridgecroft School soccer teammates will continue to play for the same team.

Thursday morning, Ridgecroft seniors Michael Byrum and Austin Foster, a Newsoms resident, jointly committed to play for Barton College in Wilson, N.C.

“I am extremely pleased as well as proud of Austin and Michael,” Ridgecroft Headmaster and Soccer Coach Aron Martin said. “Their academic and athletic abilities have afforded them the opportunity to not just hone their soccer skills at the next level but to also grow as young men as they experience college life as student-athletes.”

Both Byrum and Foster, the son of Todd and Nanette Foster, said they chose Barton not only for its good soccer program but because of their academic major of athletic training.

“I chose Barton because it is close to home, has a good athletic-training major and a good soccer program,” Foster stressed.

Byrum agreed.

“I chose Barton because of its location and because it is known for its athletic training program,” he said. “I also had a good connection with the head coach (Matt Akins).”

Byrum chose Barton over Campbell University, UNC-Wilmington and Concord University, while Foster will play for the Bulldogs rather than head to Concord or Lynchburg College.

The two young men excelled on the soccer field for the Rams this past fall as each received numerous postseason honors, including being named All-Tarheel Independent Conference and All-Roanoke-Chowan.

As they looked back over their time at Ridgecroft, both young men said they would always remember being a part of the first boys’ soccer team at Ridgecroft School to win a state title. The two helped lead the Rams’ soccer team to the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association 1-A crown this past season.

Foster said he learned from the experience as well.

“Playing soccer at Ridgecroft taught me there is no goal you can’t accomplish,” he said. “Also, being a new student and captain, I learned how to lead people I didn’t know.”

Byrum is the son of Mike and Sue Byrum of Ahoskie.