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Sports Spotlight: Greene Central’s Drake following Australian semi-pro dad’s footsteps on the soccer pitch

Senior Nathan Drake has been huge piece to undefeated season so far
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 6:31 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Greene Central boys soccer undefeated so far this fall. The 12-0 Rams are outscoring their opponents 87 to 8. We feature one of the key players to their success, midfielder Nathan Drake, in this week’s Pepsi Sports Spotlight.

“Create opportunities to score. You score yourself,” says Greene Central senior Nathan Drake, “Try to create as many goals as you can.”

Greene Central senior Nathan Drake has become an attacking midfielder for the Rams. It’s similar to the quarterback in football.

“Better ball control. You have to pass and make the assists, make things happen and create chances,” says Drake.

Nathan’s unselfish play has been a huge part of the Rams offense averaging 7 goals per game this season as a team.

“He’s one of those definitions of a coachable player. You know you get him in the training ground whatever you ask he does he doesn’t question,” says Greene Central head coach Ricardo Arias-Ruiz, “He understands that we are both working for the same purpose. He puts that trust in us and we put that trust in him.”

Extremely coachable because Drake has always had a soccer coach.

“My dad got me into it. He actually played semi professional soccer in Australia,” Nathan says, “He just trained me. He taught me everything he knows and I’ve tried to use it in my own game. It’s really cool having that connection.”

Nathan actually lived in Australia for part of his younger life.

“We stayed there for about three years till I was like six I think,” says Drake, “It was a really cool experience.”

But it was his mom who brought the family back home.

“He met my mom who is from North Carolina,” says Nathan, “and she actually went to Greene Central and graduated.”

The move making Nathan part of a special soccer community.

“Great senior group. Playing in a bunch of Sunday leagues over the weekends,” Nathan says, “Pick-up games with a really good group of guys who been playing since they were all little.”

Drake plays year round.

“He can play on left, he can play on right, he can play in the middle, he can play at the top,” says Arias-Ruiz, “He hits it with his right, he hits it with his left.”

Growing his skills by traveling the southeast with Raleigh’s North Carolina Football Club when not playing for Greene Central.

“Make quick decisions at the higher rate. To be able to move the ball really quickly and to just distribute that out here to the guys has helped the game a lot,” says Nathan, “Helps my game a lot.”

Drake’s game is getting looks from all levels of college soccer coaches. His goal is to play as long as he can.

“That is my plan right now to pursue soccer in the college,” says Drake, “and play at that high level.”

Good luck to Nathan and the Rams on their stretch run. They face Farmville Central Wednesday night.

If you have a player you think we should feature you can send us your nominations to spotlight@witn.com. Hopefully we can feature them on a Tuesday soon.

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