Just like how he goes about his business on the soccer field without any desire for extra recognition, Valentine quietly signed a letter-of-intent to continue his playing days at William Jessup University in Rocklin, Calif.
The location was a big reason Valentine chose William Jessup over a handful of other Christian-based universities.
“The main factor was just how close it was. I really wanted to go to a school close to home so I can come back and visit and have my parents come down and watch me,” Valentine said. “That along with everything else the school offers is what did it.”
William Jessup is an NAIA school and competes in the California Pacific Conference. Last season, the Warriors went 4-6 in Cal-Pac play and finished 6-10 overall under first-year head coach Carl Engel. The Warriors did win their final three games of the 2011 campaign, finishing in a three-way tie for third place.
The conference will expand to include tougher competition from Southern California and Arizona schools. Valentine was part of the heavy recruiting process that Engel hopes will build up the program to a level of Northern California powerhouse.
Engel already likes what he sees from Valentine.
“We’re excited to have Dylan on the team,” Engel said. “The team has been a middle-of-the-pack team for a number of years. We’ve done a lot of recruiting to create a lot of scoring potential on the team, and I think Dylan is going to be one of those up-and-coming threats for us up top.”
Valentine plans on majoring in business administration, but isn’t sure where that path will take him. Playing soccer in college is a dream come true though.
“I think it’s awesome. It just shows that if you put in the work in the earlier years, it will eventually pay off,” Valentine said. “To be able to play collegiate soccer, it’s one of the greatest achievements I could possible make. I thank the Lord every night for giving me the opportunity to do this.”
Valentine earned first team all-league honors his sophomore and juniors seasons and was named the High Desert League Offensive Player of the Year this past fall. He leaves Reed High as the top career goal scorer after he found the back of the net 62 times in his three years, all of which were coached by his father, Jeff.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for him. He poured his heart and soul out on the soccer field, so he’s going to be able to continue doing something he’s always wanted to do,” Jeff Valentine said. “To be able to go to a Christian school was definitely his first choice, so it’s kind of like a package deal and worked out really well. Just his hard work over four years, obviously he ended up with the record. I think he continues to do that stuff because he’s talented enough to play at the next level.”
According to the school’s mission statement, the goal of the Athletic Department at William Jessup University is to train athletes in sportsmanship, assist in their growth in Christ-like character, and provide opportunities for Christian service through the medium of sports.
As part of the educational program at William Jessup University, the Athletic Department and its intercollegiate athletic programs must strive for intellectual, spiritual, moral, emotional, cultural, social, vocational, and physical growth in those who participate.
Attending a Christian school was always Dylan’s first choice versus a public university because of the importance in these values.
“Just the different atmosphere is going to help me the most,” he said. “Because as a Christian, I’m avoiding the whole party scene. There are rules and regulations that I will have to abide by. That will help me stay focused on my school work and the team. I feel like having Christ-serving people around me will help me in the long run.”