Jenkins takes soccer skills to Texas Lutheran
By Lauren Jette
As a program still in its infancy, the Panther soccer team hit another “first” milestone on Feb. 19—their first soccer player to sign to continue playing at college.
Senior Carter Jenkins will take his soccer skills to Texas Lutheran University in Seguin next season.
After first trying the sport when he was 9 years old, Jenkins quickly became a fan.
“I started a little later than everyone else, but that’s just when I started,” Jenkins said. “I played in a little recreational league and fell in love with the game.”
A move to Liberty Hill from Pearland right before his sophomore year of high school coincided perfectly with the beginnings of the varsity soccer program.
“As soon as I moved here, that’s when everything started happening (with the soccer program),” Jenkins said. “It was a great, I’d say honor, really, to start it up and get as far as we did last year.”
In the first official varsity season last year, the Panthers advanced to the state final, where they lost to San Elizario 4-2. Jenkins is a returning center-back from that team and older brother to sophomore mid-fielder Cooper Jenkins.
“It’s a position in the back and I’m there to organize the defense and make sure no goals are scored against us,” Jenkins explained.
After last season, there is “definitely a lot of pressure, but you just gotta go through it and take one game at a time,” Jenkins said.
The Panthers currently have a 15-3 record and through seven district games are still undefeated.
Jenkins said he was contacted by the Bulldogs’ head coach Eddie Salazar.
“(The coach) actually contacted me first because I was looking around for a good college,” he said
“As soon as he contacted me, I went and checked it out and went and visited and talked to them and I liked what he said about the program, so I went back and hung out with the team and after that I was like, yeah, I want to be a part of that, so (the coach) was like, ‘we can make that happen’.”
Jenkins liked the size of the campus and the people there also.
“Trees everywhere. It’s not too big, but it’s also not too small and everybody’s real friendly around there,” he said.
While Jenkins is undecided about his major, he knows what area of study he wants to be in. “Something to do with business, not too sure yet,” he said.
So what experience will help him next season?
“Just being with the team on and off the field, honestly,” Jenkins said. “You learn so much from them from leadership to just working with them together and also getting schoolwork done when you’re busy.”
Although Jenkins isn’t the first Liberty Hill boys soccer player to continue playing the sport at the collegiate level, he is the first one to officially sign to play for a college, Head coach Darren Bauer pointed out.
Bauer said Jenkins was a good role model for his teammates to look at.
“Carter is a great example of how hard work pays off,” he said. “Two years ago, he was nowhere near the player he is today, but he put in so much hard work to be where he is.”