- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
From Leonardtown to Ryken to Campbell for Knights graduate
By JAMES A. McCRAY III
Staff writerThe soccer journey started at Leonardtown High School for recent high school graduate Michael McQueen.
McQueen began his high school soccer career with the Raiders, but he took a detour after transferring to St. Mary’s Ryken High School for his senior year.
And after recently completing his senior year at the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference school, his soccer road takes another turn in the direction of North Carolina and Campbell University.
McQueen will make a four-year pit stop at Campbell University to play soccer for the NCAA Division I Fighting Camels.
“I’m very excited,” McQueen said. “It’s a great opportunity to go and continue playing at the next level.”
The All-WCAC second-team member finished his senior season with 10 goals and 13 assists. After visits to Campbell in February and as recently as this summer, McQueen made his decision final.
“It’s a great school that fit me perfectly,” McQueen said. “It has small class sizes, great soccer team, great soccer program, in North Carolina and I just loved everything about it.”
But it was the trip in February that sold McQueen on taking his soccer skills to the North Carolina program.
“I went there, saw them play and were around them in the locker room,” McQueen said. “I saw what kind of bond they had as a team; it was kind of like a family. I thought, at that point, this is where I want to be.”
December is when McQueen stated that Campbell appeared on his GPS of interested schools when it saw him performing with his travel team, Potomac Academy, during Disney’s Soccer Showcase tournament.
A look here, a talk there and soon McQueen was on his way to North Carolina for a visit that turned into a commitment.
McQueen believes he has several attributes at the midfield position that ultimately warranted D-I attention.
“Definitely my attacking ability, my athleticism, my strength, speed and overall skills and vision,” McQueen admitted.
Playing against some of the best high school talent in the WCAC and on the travel-team circuit for McQueen is only slightly preparing him for playing those of the same talent level, but different on their own respective terms.
“In high school, it’s a lot slower, actually,” McQueen said of the game. “There are some kids that aren’t as big or aren’t as talented that you’re always going to play. At the Division I level, everyone was probably the stars of their high school teams or club teams.”
Throughout McQueen’s college journey, there will be a couple of side streets that he would like to traverse in terms of honors and accomplishments.
“As a freshman, I would like to earn first-team honors and really contribute to the team,” McQueen said. “I would like to win the Big South conference and really would like to play in the national tournament.
“In the classroom, I would like [to] allow myself to transition and get everything [taken care of] to help me make the dean’s list.”
As far as expectations, he added, “I am expecting to go in, work hard and make an impact as a freshman. Hopefully, I can gain a starting spot.”
And as the soccer standout leaves behind the traffic of high school, he admitted he will miss the good old days.
“Definitely I am going to miss the friendships and hanging out and being able to have fun in class,” McQueen said. “I’m also going to miss the sports and just everything that came along with high school in terms of the teachers and friends.”
McQueen earned a partial scholarship to play collegiate soccer.
Campbell head men’s soccer coach Steve Armas commented on McQueen’s recruiting class in a statement published on the school’s athletic site.
"I believe that this group will add depth and strengthen all positions on the field,” Armas said. “I hope to see them integrate into the returning group quickly and contribute in helping us achieve our goals this season.”