Decatur soccer player commits to Harvard

Decatur senior Will Craig has committed to attend and play soccer for Harvard University next fall.

“It was a tough decision, and at the end it was between Michigan and Harvard,” said Craig, who carries a 3.96 grade point average “When it came down to it, I couldn’t pass up a Harvard education.”

Ivy League schools aren’t allowed to give scholarships for athletics, but Craig said he felt the opportunity to attend Harvard outweighed the free education elsewhere.

“Playing college soccer has always been a goal,” Craig said. “Soccer helped me get into Harvard. When it came down to a scholarship or Harvard, I thought the opportunity for a Harvard education was priceless. I couldn’t put money on it.”

Craig was an All-South Puget Sound League defender last season and helped the Decatur soccer team to an undefeated record and state championship.

He was Most Valuable Player of the Gators defense that allowed just five goals all of last season.

He also received offers from Northwestern, Pennsylvania and the University of Washington.

“I got to visit all the schools and Harvard was an awesome campus,” said Craig, who is interested in studying engineering. “It’s not necessarily inside Boston, but real close. There’s a lot of colleges around there. It’s a beautiful setting.

“The people were great. There might be a misconception everyone over there is snobby and hard to talk to. Everyone seems social and down to earth. It just seemed right.”

Craig is also an Eagle Scout, which he said was a more personal accomplishment than winning the state soccer championship.

“It’s a different, more personal thing,” Craig said. “To accomplish something that I started back in the mid-90s, it has a more spiritual meaning. It’s not as intense as winning the state finals. But it’s more personally satisfying.”

Craig plays club soccer for the Federal Way United team, where he teams up with many of his Decatur teammates. He said playing with other quality players helped him get noticed by college scouts.

“Where colleges usually see you is at tournaments,” Craig said. “So without good players you don’t make it deep into the tournaments. The better players you have, the better you look. They make up for your mistakes.”

The Harvard soccer team was ranked as high as 18th in the nation last season and finished second in the Ivy League. Harvard coach John Kerr played college soccer for Duke, was the national player of the year and helped the Blue Devils win the 1986 national championship.

“I’m excited to go there, at the same time I don’t want to leave home,” Craig said. “But it will be great to go experience the East Coast for four years. I’ve been lucky with great coaches back here and I’ve been lucky to play with the players on my club team and at Decatur.”

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