RALEIGH — One member of the Richmond Senior High School soccer program spent Father’s Day weekend representing the Raiders at the BodyArmor State Games.
James Eason, a rising junior, participated in the annual showcase games at WakeMed Soccer Complex.
Playing for the South division team, Eason, a forward, helped the squad to a bronze medal bracket victory.
“The first time I’d heard about it was at the middle school soccer championship,” Eason explained. “Bennie (Howard) told me it was a good opportunity to try out so that’s what I did.
“I knew there would be other skilled players in the State Games, and it was also a chance for other coaches to see me play. It was just a good opportunity to see what I had on the soccer field.”
The South team, which was coached by Will Hurley of Mount Airy High School, played three pool games before fighting for the bronze title.
Eason’s squad dropped both of its matches on the first day of pool play, falling 2-0 to the North team and 5-2 against the East team, which won the gold medal.
Closing out pool play on the second day of action, the South team earned a 3-1 victory over the West team to finish play with a 1-2 record and three points.
Facing off against the North crew in the third-place match, Eason and company redeemed their loss from pool play and earned a 4-1 victory.
The South team sports their bronze medals at the 2022 BodyArmor State Games. (Contributed photo)
Across the four matches, Eason scored four goals. He said his favorite memory of the State Games was scoring off a corner kick against the East team in pool play.
“It was a great experience,” Eason recalled. “I think we could have done a lot better in the first two games because we were learning how to play as a team. But we came back and beat the No. 2 team and then won the bronze.
“It was good to meet other players and see the different talents everyone has,” he added. “Some guys are more skilled in passing, footwork or shooting, so it was good to work with them and learn.”
The Raiders will begin soccer workouts for the upcoming season later this month. Eason, who also plays baseball at Richmond, will enter his second season at the varsity level.
“Playing in the State Games helped me a lot with communication and understanding how to use it more,” he closed. “Our coach really preached that and had us work on spreading the ball wide.”