CENTENARY, Ohio — That’s one way of making sure you don’t get homesick.
On Wednesday at Gallia Academy High School, Blue Devils soccer standout Zach Johnson signed his letter of intent to join the University of Rio Grande soccer team next season.
“It’s not very far away, I know everyone there and it just feels like home,” Johnson said of his decision to join Rio Grande. “This is all I’ve wanted to do. (At GAHS) I had a blast and I have a lot of memorable moments that I’ll never forget.”
Johnson was named second team all-district for his efforts on the pitch last fall, while helping GAHS to a 6-11-1 record and a sectional title. Johnson was also recognized by the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League and the Ohio Valley Conference, earning honorable mention spots on both all-league teams.
“Zach has a lot of potential,” GAHS head coach Richard Isberner said. “If he keeps working hard and wants to show up every single game, then he’ll be very successful. He was a key player and one of our strongest players. Whenever he played well, he made the team play well.”
Johnson will be joining a RedStorm team that claimed the 2015 NAIA National Championship and finished 23-1 overall.
“Rio is quite renowned for bringing a lot of internationals in, so it’s great when you can get a home-grown boy,” RedStorm assistant coach Scott Wells said. “I’ve been working with Zach for a long time now and I’m really, really pleased that he decided to commit.
“The expectation will get really intense every year he’s here, because you get to train with people from all over the world,” Wells added. “Obviously, after winning the national championship, it’s the best time to come in and be a part of it.”
Johnson — who holds a 3.2 grade point average at GAHS — will major in Industrial Technology at Rio Grande.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.