Two Rams sign with Barton

Published 12:08 pm Friday, March 30, 2012

AHOSKIE – Two Ridgecroft School teammates will continue to play for the same team.

Thursday morning, Ridgecroft seniors Michael Byrum and Austin Foster jointly committed to Barton College, where each will continue his soccer career.

“I am extremely pleased as well as proud of Austin and Michael,” Ridgecroft Headmaster and Soccer Coach Aron Martin said. “Their academic and athletic abilities have afforded them the opportunity to not just hone their soccer skills at the next level, but to also grow as young men as they experience college life as student-athletes.”

Both Byrum and Foster said they chose Barton not only for its good soccer program, but because of their academic major. Both young men plan to major in athletic training.

“I chose Barton because it is close to home, has a good athletic training major and a good soccer program,” Foster stressed.

Byrum agreed.

“I chose Barton because of its location and because it is known for its athletic training program,” he said. “I also had a good connection with the head coach (Matt Akins).”

Byrum chose Barton over Campbell University, UNC Wilmington and Concord University while Foster will play for the Bulldogs rather than head to Concord or Lynchburg College.

The two young men excelled on the soccer field for the Rams this past fall as each received numerous post-season honors including being named All-Tarheel Independent Conference and All-Roanoke-Chowan.

As they looked back over their time at Ridgecroft, both young men said they would always remember being a part of the first men’s team at Ridgecroft School to win a state title. The two helped lead the Rams’ soccer team to the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association 1-A crown this past season.

The two said they would remember their careers at Ridgecroft fondly.

“Coach Martin helped me learn that a soccer team is more of a family than just a team,” Byrum said. “Also, he taught me about becoming part of something bigger than myself.”

Foster said he learned from the experience as well.

“Playing soccer at Ridgecroft taught me there is no goal you can’t accomplish,” he said. “Also, being a new student and captain, I learned how to lead people I didn’t know.”

As they prepare for next season, both have things they are looking forward to when they arrive in Wilson.

“I am looking forward to continuing my soccer career and increasing my skill level,” Foster said.

Byrum added, “I am looking forward to becoming a part of a talented college team and knowing that my soccer days won’t end after high school.”

Martin said both young men would do well at Barton academically and athletically.

“They are fine young men and super soccer players,” he said. “They will be missed dearly, but we are all proud of their accomplishments and wish them all the best.’

Byrum is the son of Mike and Sue Byrum of Ahoskie.

Foster is the son of Todd and Nanette Foster of Newsoms, Virginia.