By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Playing collegiate soccer was the last thing on Clay Luker’s mind when he took up the sport three years ago as a sophomore at Cannon County High School.
Diligence, dedication and determination enabled Luker to quickly adapt as he became a reliable midfielder for Cannon County’s soccer team.
Luker recently became the first Cannon County soccer player in the sport’s 10-year existence at the high school to earn a collegiate scholarship. He will continue his career at Iowa Wesleyan in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.
“From the beginning I thought playing college soccer was so distant, something other people did,” Luker said. “I put a recruiting profile out there to see what would happen. I had not heard anything in the last couple of months so I gave up on it. One day I got an e-mail out of nowhere and that started the process.”
Luker, the son of John and Shannon Harrison, is a player who improved with each practice and game throughout his career, according to Lions Head Soccer Coach Shannon Gannon.
“Clay had never played soccer but he came out for his sophomore year and showed the skills to be a strong player once he started to understand the game,” Gannon said. “He was an asset to Cannon County soccer. Clay is still learning so I would say Iowa Wesleyan is getting a solid young player who is eager to learn and will be dedicated.”
As Luker started understanding soccer he realized it was his sport, after all.
“Once I got going, from the beginning I realized I had been missing something for a long time. I loved it,” Luker said. “Having this opportunity now. It’s almost too good to be true. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Academics also played a role in the decision.
“My parents really liked the academic part of things at Iowa Wesleyan, and I really liked the academic experience there,” Luker said. “They offer more majors than the college I was considering. They have an entire department devoted to Pre-Professional Studies, and I want to get into Pre-Med so that works out great.”
Iowa Wesleyan is a NCAA Division III provisional member; USCAA (United States Collegiate Athletic Association). It is in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic