Will Byrd, seated in center is joined by his parents (seated) Dr. Jenny Byrd and Dr. David Byrd; (back row) TWC Coach Stephen Lyons, McMinn Coach Jacob Slack, McMinn Athletic Director Jimmy Haynie, McMinn assistant Duane Rikard and McMinn assistant Jack Heath
Scott Power-Sports Writer
Daily Post Athenian
McMinn County High School's Will Byrd has decided to continue his soccer career at Tennessee Wesleyan College.
Byrd, a central midfielder, also had some interest in Bryan College, Carson-Newman and Tusculum, but decided TWC was the best place for him.
"It's a good school and it's got a good soccer program," Byrd said. "Living here, I've been able to see the program up close and I'm excited to be part of it. It was a relief to finally sign and I'm excited about it."
Byrd, who hopes to be a pre-physical therapy major, said Wesleyan's coaches were a major factor in his decision to become a Bulldog.
TWC Coach Stephen Lyons said he has watched Byrd for a while now and likes the potential Byrd has showed. He added that he won't know for sure what position Byrd will play until he practices in the preseason with the team for a while.
Regardless of what position Byrd plays, Lyons is signing a player he believes can help his team.
"I coached him in U15 soccer and I have seen what he can do," Lyons said. "I have seen him play a lot and he is having a good year. He has great field vision and he works hard. I like his potential for the future. I know he will be a hard worker for us and I look forward to seeing him develope."
It's that strong work ethic that McMinn Coach Jacob Slack said will make Byrd successful on the next level.
"He has worked really hard to get where he is at right now, signing to play soccer at Tennessee Wesleyan College," Slack said. "He is a good all-around athlete, but he is also a good person. He is somebody you don't have to worry about off the field. He's a very well-rounded individual and person."
Slack said Byrd has something all good players have, and that's a passion for the game.
"He loves soccer," Slack said of Byrd. "He works hard and he enjoys playing. I am looking forward to watching him at Wesleyan and I believe he will have a successful college career."
On the field, Byrd had four goals and three assists his senior season.
After realizing his dream of playing college soccer, Byrd can't wait to get started.
"It's a relief knowing where I am going and I'm ready to start training," Byrd said.