OHIO CITY, Oh - Next fall, Collin Folds will be continuing his academic and soccer career at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. The senior Center Back has been a critical piece for the 16-0-0 regular season Wildcats and is committed just days before the OHSAA Tournament kicks off on Saturday, October 23.
“It is such a great school,” says Folds. “It was awesome to make that decision and just focus on the rest of this season.” The college decision comes at the right time for Folds, as he notes all of his attention can be drawn on the pitch. “It helps me a lot because now I don’t have to worry about which coaches are going to be watching me,” explains Folds. “I can just worry about how I am playing.”
“I’m excited for Collin and this is well deserved,” explains Head Soccer Coach Mike McLaughlin ’85. “He is a wonderful young man and a great leader; he is going to play at the Division I level and Bellarmine is getting a great soccer player.”
The Soccer Cats made history this season, becoming the fourth team in program history to go undefeated as they finished the regular season 16-0-0. The Wildcats this season outscored their opponents 96-6 this season as Folds has been a significant part of a terrific defense for Saint Ignatius. “It is exceptional,” says Folds. “There are not many teams that have been able to do that and it is a great moment to be a captain and make history.”
“He has the flexibility of being able to play anywhere on the field,” says McLaughlin. “He is normally a Center Mid player, but he helped the team at the Center Back position; that position is the quarterback of the team. We are scoring a lot of goals, but we’re also not giving up a lot of goals and credit goes to him and that defense.”
Folds notes the most challenging match came when the team took on St. Xavier of Lousiville. The Cats fell behind early but kept their composure. “When we went to Louisville to play St. Xavier, we went down 2-0 early and we had to fight back,” Folds explains. “We came together and fixed what we were doing wrong as a team and it was a great moment for us to be down and have the opportunity to come back and win.”
The Wildcats will begin tournament play on Saturday, October 23 and being a senior, Folds wants to end his high school career on the right note. “I’m excited because it’s nice to get the playoffs going,” says Folds. “We’re excited to compete for another State Championship.”
Coming into the 2021 season, the Cats were faced with pressure to continue the soccer program’s greatness from the previous years of winning a State and National Championship. The Cats appear not to be distracted by the pressure in the 2021 season, and Folds notes the success from the Cats. “We are taking it game by game,” Folds explains. “We focused on each game, so our expectations were manageable.”
The Wildcats journey for number 11 will kick off this weekend against the winner of Barberton/Akron Kenmore-Garfield in the Sectional Final. Despite being committed to Bellarmine, Folds has one more goal in mind: to finish as a State Champion.