Yuriel Reyes

Palestine Wildcat Yuriel Reyes signed his national letter of intent Tuesday to play soccer at Trinity Valley Community College.

PALESTINE – Palestine Wildcat Yuriel Reyes signed his national letter of intent Tuesday to play soccer at Trinity Valley Community College.

Reyes, and the Palestine soccer program, both took potential gigantic steps as Reyes signed his name across the dotted line.

The addition of men’s and women’s soccer programs at TVCC were unanimously approved by a board of trustees in February 2020 and the school will field their first team this year.

TVCC will begin competing as a NJCAA-sanctioned program in the fall of 2021, according to Jay Kinzer, Ph.D., vice president of student services and athletic director. The college is expected to play a club soccer schedule in the spring of 2021.

“It's hard for kids to want to leave home who have been here their whole life,” head coach John Absalom said. “We've had kids struggle when they've gone off far, but this is right down the road. I foresee a bit of a pipeline, hopefully. With this opportunity Reyes is becoming a pioneer for the kids coming after him.”

Reyes came over to the states from Honduras with aspirations of playing high school soccer. That eventually became a goal of playing collegiate soccer.

He's been a four-year varsity player for PHS where he was on the state championship team in 2018 and the state semifinalist team in 2019. Reyes was first-team All-District for the Wildcats this past year as they clinched their seventh straight district championship.

“He's been a stud for us,” Absalom said. “His work ethic has rubbed off on his teammates. And that's what you're looking for with all your athletes.”

Athens native Antonio Ledesma was named the first soccer coach in the history of Trinity Valley Community College.

“We are very excited to add soccer to our successful athletic program,” Kinzer said. “It provides us another way to better serve our students and community.

“It also allows us to offer more students an opportunity to gain an education while participating in collegiate athletics.”

Soccer will join football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and softball as NJCAA-sanctioned programs at the college.

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