By Rob Patrick
There was a time not too long ago that the Bryant Hornets soccer team was getting[more] pushed around on a regular basis. Head coach Jason Hay had a young group that just hadn’t matured enough, become strong enough and sturdy enough to withstand the physical nature of the game at the varsity high school level.
But those guys have grown up now and it’s a different story.
One of those players who used to try to fight those bigger, stronger opponents is now a senior and has not only grown into the type of player that can withstand all that, he can dish out a little misery on his own.
As a junior, Reed Evans earned all-State honors as defender for the Hornets. Now, as a senior, he’s signed a letter of intent to continue his career and his education on scholarship at Lyon College.
“Not only is he a good soccer player but he’s a good kid who works hard,” said Bryant head coach Jason Hay. “He’s come a long way in the time that I’ve been here. His grades are exceptional. Lyon is getting a good one.”
Evans, the son of Nan and Chris Evans, said his first contact with new Lyon coach Mitch McKay during the fall season.
“I play for the Little Rock Futboll Club team and the coach saw me in a tournament and he contacted me,” Reed Evans said. “I went up there to the Lyon College campus and visited. We just talked and I ended up with a scholarship.
“I was looking at a couple more (schools) and waiting for any offers,” he added. “Money is a deal breaker. UCA was one of those I was looking at. It’s a good school to go to and it’s about the only one in the state that I would consider besides Lyon.”
Evans visited the campus in January.
“I played around with the team and practiced with them a little,” he recalled. “Everything was great. The campus is very small but it’s very pretty. There’s a little lake, recreational fields and stuff. The gym was nice. It was just a nice, small campus.”
As the middle defender, Evans has been part of the backbone of a solid defensive team this year.
“He’s a good leader,” Hay mentioned. “He gets everybody organized. He can fix a lot of mistakes a lot better than most on the field. He’s very aware of what we’re trying to do on the field as far as defensively and getting lined up for kicks. He’s just like having another coach on the field at times.
“We’ve had a lot of kids that have had to play young and Reed’s no exception,” continued the Bryant coach. “He had to play a lot as a sophomore. You can only hope that somebody that plays that much when they’re younger can come along and get better as a senior. He’s done a good job.”
“Freshman and sophomore years were slow getting going but I was smaller,” Evans recalled. “I didn’t grow until my junior year. Coach Hay coming in, he really took the team to a new level and really made soccer a big deal and actually noticeable here, on the map at Bryant. We’ve grown substantially as a team and that’s good.”
“This is the first (player) that’s signed since I’ve been head coach here,” Hay said. “You always hope that any kid you coach, you’d love to be able to see them play at the next level and be able to say I had the privilege and the opportunity to coach a kid like that.
“This also gives these younger kids a chance to see that, hey, if I work hard and keep my grades up maybe I’ll have a chance,” he concluded.