Hays High School senior Michael Reyes said playing college soccer has been one of his goals since he first walked the halls of HHS.
Wednesday he put a proverbial check mark next to the accomplishment, as he signed with Allen County Community College.
“It feels really good,” Reyes said. “I never thought I could do it, but I had good support around me. It’s kinda surreal, but I’m blessed to be able to play soccer. I’m just grateful.”
Jim Maska, who coached Reyes for his first three years of prep soccer, has known the Indian senior for much longer and said he’s rarely seen Reyes without a ball at his feet. Reyes said he started playing club soccer, frequently playing against older and bigger competition, around the age of five.
He developed into an inventive midfielder that played a part in many of Hays High’s goals this fall.
“Michael was really important for us. He always communicated. He was talking the most,” said Kellen Griffin, who coached the Indians this fall.
“He was a really important cog in our team and what we did. He really helped us accomplish what we wanted to do.”
Reyes figures to slot into a similar role in Iola, while possibly spending some time on a wing.
“I’m going to play some attacking mid. I’ll probably play some outside mid too,” Reyes said. “It just depends wherever coach Doug (Desmarteau) puts me. Wherever he puts me, I’ll be ready.”
Reyes spends most of his time outside of school and practice lifting and coaching a couple youth teams for Hays Soccer Club. Members of his team were amongst the most enthusiastic attendees at his signing ceremony.
One of his players is a neighbor to Maska.
“It’s so awesome to see him give back to the community and to the Hays Soccer Club,” Maska said.
“She just tells me, ‘He’s teaching me this. He’s teaching me that.’ He’s developing himself. He’s now getting to see the game through a coach’s eyes, not just a player’s eyes. I think at the college level that’s going to help him a whole bunch too.”
Reyes said he was undecided on what he’ll study and whether or not he’ll continue his soccer career beyond Allen.
What is certain is Reyes will continue his soccer career into college.
“It’s been a goal of mine since I was in freshman in high school,” Reyes said. “Ever since I started high school soccer, I started talking to college players. They were telling me about college, and ever since then, I wanted to do it.”