Steadman to attend combine

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Natchez High School junior Herbert Steadman looks down the field in a pickup soccer game Sunday at Morgantown Elementary School. Steadman will attend a soccer combine hosted by European coach Kevin Gail in Dallas July 22-24. (Michael Kerekes \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Natchez High soccer player Herbert Steadman is looking to get instruction from a part of the world where soccer is a very big deal.

Steadman, 16, a junior at NHS, will be competing in the Impact Sports Management soccer combine in Dallas July 22-24. Steadman said a European coach named Kevin Gail runs the combine.

“I was on the website, and (Gail) sent me a letter,” Steadman said. “If you do well at the combine, you can join a club soccer team. You’re basically just trying to showcase yourself to the coaches.”

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Even with the opportunity to make money playing for a club team, Steadman stressed that he wouldn’t be playing club soccer full-time in the near future.

“You can go straight out of high school, but I want a college education,” Steadman said.

Steadman said he’s looking at three colleges — Belhaven, Millsaps and Northwestern (Ohio) — and of the three, Belhaven stands out the most to him.

“They’re definitely my favorite,” Steadman said. “I’ve talked to the coaches, and I plan on going up there soon. Their head coach, Karlos Lyons, is really talented, and he’s a really different person. He’s an in-the-face kind of guy.”

Steadman said he’s only been playing soccer for three seasons at NHS, and credited his friend and his former head coach for getting him into the sport.

“I played a little when I was younger, but I didn’t really know what I was doing,” Steadman said. “My friend Noah Bagwell encouraged me to play.

“(Former NHS head coach) Dennis Hogue taught me everything about the game, basically. He taught me how to dribble, shoot and never give up.”

Hogue said he could tell Steadman was talented as soon as he saw him play, but that he needed refining at first.

“He has two left feet,” Hogue said. “He’d come out and I’d say, ‘Man, he’s too fast for his own good.’ I’d yell at him to slow down, and once I got him to slow down and pay attention, he learned to dribble instead of just kick it and chase it.”

Steadman said Hogue taught him a good shot takes several things.

“You have to stay level and kick it with your laces,” Steadman said. “It helps with your aim. If you kick it with your toe, you don’t know where it will go.”

Although he’s excited about competing at the combine, Steadman said he’s also prepared to see some very good soccer players.

“I’m nervous a little bit, because there’s going to be a lot of competition there,” Steadman said.

But Hogue said the trip will be worth making for Steadman.

“I think he’ll be awesome,” Steadman said. “He’ll learn a lot, because they’ll cram a lot into a short amount of time.”

Steadman is the son of Sharon and Johnny Robinson.