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Jonesboro's Fleming signs scholarship

By Doug Gorman

Jonesboro High School senior David Fleming has his future all mapped out.

Fleming, who plays goalie for the Cardinals soccer team, plans to study history and romance languages in college with an eye on teaching or politics.

The talented goaliekeeper will also play college soccer after signing his letter of intent to Bethany College in Kansas on Thursday.

Fleming stumbled on the small-liberal arts college located in Lindsborg while attending a college fair. Now, he calls the school a perfect fit.

"I had a chance to visit the campus, workout with the team and sit in on some classes," he said. "I really enjoyed it."

The Bethany College soccer team is a successful NAIA program which won its conference last season. However, the timing is right for Fleming to step in and play right away.

"They are looking for a new keeper, so I have a chance to play as a freshman," he said.

Soccer has been a part of Fleming's life since he was 4-years old, and when not playing for Jonesboro during the high school season, Fleming has spent time on club programs in Fayette and Rockdale County.

Between his eighth and ninth grade years, Fleming also played on a team that traveled to England as part of the Sports Ambassadors tour. It was an eye-opening experience for the young teenager.

"Players over there were head and shoulders above us," he said. "We only won one game, and that was against another team from the United States, but all of our games were competitive."

Fleming has played several positions during his soccer career, but has turned into a top-flight goalie since deciding to concentrate primarily on the position when he was about 13.

"Everything is magnified when you play keeper," he said. "There is a lot of pressure to play the position. I like that."

Fleming's mother Mae has watched her son develop into the college-bound soccer player.

"He has had great coaching over the years," she said. "There have been a lot of dedicated people who have helped him get to this point."

Fleming has helped the Cardinals' soccer team go from a squad with very little chance of making the playoffs, to a yearly contender. Earlier this year Fleming and his teammates tied Fayette County and made some school history.

On the surface, a tie doesn't seem that big of a deal, but it was the first time, a Jonesboro soccer team hadn't lost to a Fayette County school.

"McIntosh and Starr's Mill are always going to be the teams to beat, they have Division I players on those programs, and always will," he said. By tying Fayette County, I think we have shown the gap is closing."

Jonesboro coach Keith Hooper calls Fleming the ideal keeper.

"Your goalkeeper has to be a vocal leader," he said. "David is agile and quick. He has helped our younger players and has even worked with our girls' team."