By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
When Seth Hale was 4 years old, he started playing soccer. He really didn’t understand the game until he was 8, but once that understanding came, so did the desire to one day play the world’s most popular sport in college.
Monday afternoon, that dream came true, as the South Laurel senior signed to play for the University of the Cumberlands.
“I love the game,” Hale said. “This was one thing that I was really good at and something that I could make my parents proud.”
Growing up Hale not only played the game, but would also watch it on television, where he saw the passion that the professional players had for soccer. Seeing that made him develop his own passion for the sport as his skills advanced on field, through playing in the Optimist League, the Bluegrass States Games, middle school and finally high school.
It was that passion that Cumberlands coach Brenton Benware saw when Hale tried out for the Patriots, along with Hale’s character, that made him want to sign him.
“In addition to his soccer ability, we are most excited about this success in the classroom and his character,” Benware said. “With Seth we feel like we are getting a well rounded package.”
While Hale might not be the biggest player size-wise on the pitch, that never stopped him from going up against bigger players for headers or shutting down opposing strikers. Hale knows that he will have to get more physical to make an impact at the collegiate level.
“There are some really big guys in college,” Hale said. “I will have to gain some more muscle.” After playing with the same group of guys for several years, he also understands that it’s a clean slate at UC.
“I will have to understand my new teammates and how they play their game,” Hale said. “Plus, I will have to think a lot faster.”
“Almost all freshmen when they first come in have to work on their technical ability,” Benware said. “And adjust to the speed of the game, and have an overall understanding that will come with playing at a higher level.”
Hale said he choose Cumberlands because he loved the program and the coaches.
“The coaches have great charisma with their players and I love their coaching style and the atmosphere on the campus,” Hale said.
“We like to win at Cumberlands,” Benware said. “It’s really good to get a player like Seth on board. He’s a good player to bring into the program, and I think he will make a big impact on the team, both on and off the field. I think we got one of the best.”