SALADO — It has been a busy week for the Salado boys soccer program.
But for senior Daniel Lemus, whose family was a big help in the birth of the program, it is a fitting end to his Salado soccer career.
Lemus and the Eagles extended his senior season by defeating Mexia in the bi-district round of the playoffs Tuesday, and on Thursday, Lemus signed a letter of intent to continue his soccer career next fall at Howard Payne University in Brownwood.
Lemus played a key role for Salado in its inaugural season as a sophomore, and now he becomes the first Eagle to sign a letter of intent to play at the next level.
“That’s the neat part,” Salado head coach Michael Goos said.
“We’ve had a lot of great kids come through the last two years, but being a new program I don’t know if we’ve had colleges that even know that we have a soccer program yet.
“This does a good job of putting him on the map and putting our school on the map.”
Although soccer is fairly new at Salado, it isn’t for Lemus, who has been playing the game practically his entire life.
Not only does he compete in and outside of high school, Lemus is also the coach of an Under-8 team and a referee for the local soccer club.
“His parents line the field before our games,” Goos said. “They’ve been a huge part of making this first four years successful and Daniel has been here every step of the way.”
Lemus said he is still coming along as a coach — “I’m getting there,” he said — but he has been prepared as a player since Day 1.
Goos said Lemus has scored 26 goals in his varsity career, including two and an assist in the Eagles’ first playoff game his sophomore year.
Goos remembered having to move Lemus to defense because of injuries and Lemus still found a way to score goals and get assists.
“He has an understanding of the game that’s always helped us,” Goos said.
Starting this fall, Lemus will look to help Howard Payne, where he said he was drawn to the small campus.
“It seems very family-like,” Lemus said. “Everyone seems really friendly and me and the coach had been talking.”
First, Lemus must finish his high school career, which will continue tonight when Salado faces Jacksonville in the area around of the playoffs in Jacksonville.
But on Thursday, Lemus and Goos were proud to take a moment out of a busy week to celebrate what he and the Eagles have accomplished the past three years.
“It feels good to know that I had a role in building the program up,” Lemus said.