McCallie senior goalkeeper Andrew Prescott called his decision to commit to the East Tennessee State University soccer program a "no-brainer."
"ETSU was my first offer, and they had been recruiting me for a while. It's a school I love," said Prescott, who won TSSAA Division II-AA state titles with the Blue Tornado last spring and as a freshman. "They have been successful and built good players and even better people.
"At the end of the day, you still have to get a job. Whether you play professionally or not, you have to be a good person and work hard."
ETSU finished 9-7-1 overall and 4-1-1 in Southern Conference play last season, losing in the semifinals of the league tournament in November. Since beginning play in 2008, the Buccaneers have reached the NCAA tournament three times.
With Prescott in goal, the Blue Tornado have posted shutouts in 18 of their past 35 matches, including a 2-0 win against Montgomery Bell Academy to win state this past May. He was one of five all-state selections for McCallie, which was No. 10 in Top Drawer Soccer's final Fab 50 boys' high school soccer national rankings for spring 2019.
"We see the rankings and we are proud of how we got there, but there is no guarantee it will last," Prescott said. "We take it and build off it to play our best. We are ranked for a reason, but we have to continue to work. It takes a strong commitment and pushing yourself and others to be the best you can be."
This past season, McCallie allowed 11 goals in its first five games, when the opponents included Georgia powerhouses Dalton and Westminster, which wound up ranked first and fourth nationally by Top Drawer Soccer. After starting 1-3-1, the Blue Tornado finished the season on a 13-game unbeaten streak in which opponents scored only seven goals as Prescott's leadership in the net helped turn things around.
"Whether it's passing, handling, catching or diving, I try to make sure I am as technical and clean as possible," said Prescott, whose greatest memory of McCallie soccer is playing a few minutes as a freshman in the 2017 state title game against MBA, a 3-2 win. "Tactically, I feel like I know the game very well and where people should be. I love being a leader on the field. My goalkeeper coach, David Barrueta, has been a big help along with all of our coaches."
Prescott is also playing football this year for the first time, kicking for a McCallie team that went 11-2 last season and reached the DII-AAA state semifinals. The Blue Tornado open their football season Friday with a 7 p.m. game at Chattanooga Christian.