E.A. Sports Today

Faith soccer seniors sign

Johnson picks Mercer, McDaniel continues family legacy at Covenant

Faith Christian seniors Josiah McDaniel (L) and Tyler Johnson congratulate each other after their college signing ceremony Wednesday. (Photo by Carey Jenkins)

Faith Christian seniors Josiah McDaniel (L) and Tyler Johnson congratulate each other after their college signing ceremony Wednesday. (Photo by Carey Jenkins)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Tyler Johnson and Josiah McDaniel have been so inseparable on and off the soccer field it was no coincidence they signed college scholarships on the same day.

McDaniel, a forward, signed with Covenant College and Johnson, a center midfielder, signed with Mercer University in ceremonies attended by family, friends and teammates Wednesday.

“I couldn’t see it any other way,” Lions coach Eric McDaniel said. “It makes all kinds of sense that they would do it in the same day.

“Not just those two, but that whole (four-player) senior class. They have grown up playing together, playing on the same teams for years. … They want to see the other person succeed. They want to share their limelight, the glory, together.”

Both signing seniors considered going to Covenant together until Johnson decided to chase his academic pursuits in engineering.

McDaniel scored 28 goals last season; he had two in the Lions’ only game so far this season against Donoho. Johnson scored 14 goals last year; he had four in the Donoho game.

Johnson, who Eric McDaniel said may be the best-skilled soccer player Faith has ever produced, considers himself more an assist man than goal scorer, and most of his assists have a way of finding their way to McDaniel.

He remembered two connections in particular in last year’s playoffs.

“We always had this connection,” Johnson said. “If he goes one way I know I should go here because I know that’s where he’s going to pass the ball. We just read each other’s mind really well and that sets up lots of goals.”

Both of their future teams won conference championships last year. Mercer won 14 games, won the Southern Conference regular-season title and lost to Furman in the conference tournament title match. Covenant won its conference tournament and played in the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time.

McDaniel’s choice of Covenant continues a family legacy. His father and uncle both played soccer there and his mother played basketball there.

“We started soccer together and have played together for a long time,” McDaniel said, “so it’s really cool to kind of finish it together.”



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