Kessel commits to UNC soccer


photo contributed by Garrett Kessel

Junior Garrett Kessel dribbles the ball down the field. He has recently announced his commitment to play soccer at UNC.

During junior year, students are managing academics, athletics and a social life. They begin to tour colleges and get an idea of where they want to further their education. However, for one junior, his plan is already decided.

Junior Garrett Kessel recently announced his commitment to play soccer at UNC Chapel Hill. Starting recreational soccer at age five, Kessel loved the sport at an early age.

“Normally, (I played) around my brothers because they’re both older,” Kessel said. “They influenced me a lot.”

As he got older, the competition began to increase. He knew that to become better, he had to be more committed to soccer.

“I quit all other sports,” Kessel said. “I used to play basketball, so I quit that and focused more on soccer.”

He also amplified his training to stay on top of his game.

“During the summer, I’d get up, go to the gym, and then hit the field. I did double sessions almost every day,” Kessel said.

In fifth grade, Kessel started playing for Greensboro United Soccer Association, which is the feeder-club for the team he currently plays for: North Carolina Fusion. His team plays year-round, so he can’t play for Northwest’s school team. However, this team has allowed him to be recruited by colleges.

During his sophomore year, he was contacted by NC State in February and UNC in March. From among the nearly dozen colleges attempting to recruit him, his top three choices were UNC, NC State and UNCW. Choosing where to commit, at the end of the day, was a well thought out decision.

“Whenever I got off the phone from the UNC coach, I’d be super excited and ready to play for them. For the other teams, I wasn’t as excited,” Kessel said.

Kessel feels the pressure both academically and athletically to perform well.

“Academically, UNC is a very prestigious school, so the pressure to have good grades and be able to compete at that school academically is another thing I need to focus on.”

He is unsure about his major, but is thinking about economics or following his brothers’ footsteps in business.

Kessel appreciates this experience and is proud of his achievements.

“It’s really cool talking to schools, getting to know the coaches,” he said. “It’s an experience that I’m thankful for.”