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Cato signs with USCL soccer

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By Robert Howey

Lancaster High School senior soccer player Jacob Cato had a fulfilling day on Easter Monday.
Cato, in late morning, did something for his future, signing to play for the University of South Carolina Lancaster Lancers soccer team.
That evening, Cato, who played football for the LHS Bruins, was honored as the 2018 Lancaster County Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s Football Player of the Year.
Cato, a four-year LHS soccer player, said he was “on the fence,” about his college choice, but opted for USCL with the offer to continue playing soccer.
“I think this is a blessing,” Cato said. “Coach Parnell (Dave, USCL soccer coach) is very personable. He wants to get to know you.
“He’s old school, which I like,” Cato said. “He wants to keep the game clean and simple. He also wants to bring in players from South Carolina to build his team.”
Cato said he plans to major in nursing, a degree he can earn at the USC regional campus.
“I get to stay at home,” he said. “It feels like home because I know a lot of people there. I think it’s going to be enjoyable.”
Cato has done his share to boost the Bruins soccer team over four years.
A year ago, he earned the team’s Assist Award for the second straight season with nine assists. He also garnered all-region for LHS, which has been in the playoffs each season he’s been on the squad.
This season, Cato, the LHS second-year captain at center back, has three goals and two assists.
“Jacob is one of the hardest working and passionate players I’ve ever coached,” LHS soccer coach Adam Nelson said. “Even though he plays as a center back, he is always involved in the offense because of his ability to put free kicks from our half into the opposition 18-yard box and put throw-ins within the opposition six-yard box.”
Nelson said Cato will leave big shoes to fill.
“Jacob is a wonderful kid and we are really going to miss his leadership and work ethic next season,” he said.
In addition to soccer, Cato handled the kicking duties for the Bruins over the last three football seasons. In his senior year, Cato, the all-county kicker for the second straight season, made 26-27 extra points, 9-13 field goals with 17 touchbacks.
He received the Bruins Specialist of the Year Award and was honored as the Class AAAA all-state punter by the High School Sports Report.
LHS Athletics Director Mark Strickland called Cato “a fine young man, a true student athlete.”
“He’s a great leader on and off the field,” LHS Principal Rosalyn Mood said.
Cato, ranked No. 3 in the LHS class of 2019, has a 4.958 grade point average.