The ink is dry for Northwest senior Tyler Webb.
On Thursday afternoon, Webb signed a letter of intent to continue his soccer career at Shawnee State in the gymnasium at Northwest High School.
Webb’s commitment to play collegiate soccer closes out a fantastic soccer and scholastic career for the Mohawks athlete.
In a breakout senior season for Northwest this year, Webb scored 34 goals and recorded eight assists. Webb headlined an experience laden Mohawks team that finished with a 19-1 record and clinched their first outright SOC title since 1993.
Eager for what’s to come, Webb can’t wait to get things going with the Bears for a multitude of reasons.
“I’m super excited to play for them,” Webb said. “I’ve watched them a lot, and I’m really excited to be a part of the team.”
“It’s close to home, so it really is helpful with efficiency and money. It offers a program I want to go into, and I love the soccer team, I love everybody there.”
It will be a change of scenery to say the least for Webb, as he’ll now be teammates with several local athletes he once competed against on the pitch.
Shawnee State had 10 former SOC soccer players on their roster this past season.
“It’s going to be really interesting to see them all again,” Webb said. “There wasn’t a lot that graduated this year, but I remember a lot from last year and the year before that I’ll know and have fun playing with.”
The environment and faces around him may be different, but Webb intends to bring the same work ethic to the table that he has demonstrated over the last four years in high school.
“I’m going to do the same as I did last season which is work hard and practice every day, which is what I’ve been doing lately and what I’ll keep doing,” Webb said.
Josh Keeney, Webb’s head coach at Northwest, has seen firsthand how far Webb has come along in a variety of ways.
“Tyler has been with me for several years now obviously, and I’m just so proud of Tyler right now,” Keeney said. “The things he’s accomplished, and where he’s came from. Since his freshman to senior year, he’s came a long way and I look for huge potential out of Tyler in college.”
“I think he’s got a lot more room to grow already being as good as he is. I think he can really help Shawnee, and to help that program grow and continue to grow as it has the past few years.”
Since Webb’s freshman year, he and his team have continuously improved.
Just looking at the development from junior to senior season, you see how Webb has sharpened his skills to become a more well-rounded player.
As a junior, Webb posted 18 goals and four assists. He improved his goal scoring by 16, and doubled his assist output this past year.
Along the way, Northwest picked up six more wins in what was an undefeated regular season.
Still, Keeney says he expects Webb to go even further on the field.
“He’s gotten way better over the past two years, and he scored a lot of goals,” Keeney said. “With his ball handling skills improving and the speed he has, which everyone knows he’s the fastest guy around here, if he can continue to develop his footwork and his ball skills he’ll be hard to handle at any level.”
That speed that Coach Keeney mentioned, along with overall versatility, was some of the enticing attributes that brought Shawnee State’s coaches around.
“His pace of play is something that is going to be very valuable to our program,” said Shawnee State assistant coach Mark Trapp. “He can play up top, he can play an outside mid. He’s very talented to where he could do all of that, so we’re looking forward to him coming down and joining our program.”
Trapp also noted that Webb has been exposed to college level training and drills already, as Keeney has implemented some of those workouts within his team.
“He’s coming from a great program, Josh and Jacob do a great job out here at Northwest,” Trapp said. “The thing about it is the training he does each and every day, and a lot of the drills he’s doing here, he’s going to do down at Shawnee State as well.”
Keeney knows Webb has the potential to make a mark on the Shawnee State program, but also reminded him of the challenges he will be tasked with.
“We’ve talked a lot, and I told him it wasn’t going to be easy,” Keeney said. “I put him through a lot here, but it’s going to be twice as hard and a lot more at the college level with two-a-days and so forth.”
“I told him he’s not going to be going in and starting right away like he has here, he’s going to have to work his butt off to prove to the coaches he can earn that time.”
With the mentality and desire to always better himself that Webb possesses, success would come as no real surprise to Keeney.
“Tyler is obviously a great kid,” Keeney said. “He’s a hard worker on the field and in the classroom, he has a great family, and he’s just a well-mannered kid and a kid that anyone would love as their own.”
With a fleet of freshman expected to be the theme of next season for the Bears once more, Webb will likely get a chance to prove himself early on.
“Right now, we’re going to be very young once again,” Trapp said. “We graduated a lot of people two years ago, and then last year we were just devastated with injuries. So, we got to play some young players and they got a lot of experience.”
“With this incoming class, we’ll be very young once again, but I think this program is built for two or three years down the road. We’re definitely going to be able to compete with the upper tier teams.”
The signing of Webb shows not only an influx of former SOC players, but Scioto County kids as well.
“The kids are getting better in Scioto County and the southeast district,” Trapp said. “The programs are playing during the summer time, and the kids aren’t picking up a soccer ball and just coming around for soccer season. They’re playing all year round, and that’s one of the things that’s helping out a lot.”
A kid who practices the game year-round himself, Webb is constantly around the game and absorbing new knowledge.
Webb will finish his career with the Mohawks with numerous achievements and a decorated resume. He scored 69 career goals and had 19 career assists with Northwest, and helped lead his team to a 51-17-5 overall record during that time.
With a commitment to excellence, an outstanding support system, and a community rallying behind him, it seems like the sky truly is the limit for Webb at Shawnee State.