Telling Trait in Soccer & School: Tenacity
Ask athletes down through the ages to name the sweetest feeling in sports and the answer echoes across generations – revenge.
Caleb Valentine, captain and four-year starter on the Trinity Christian Academy soccer team, is no exception.
The 17-year-old senior center-back has sparked the Titans to consecutive trips to the Kentucky Christian Athletic Association playoffs.
The leader of the defense, he helped the team record 10 shutouts the past two seasons, including six in 2017.
For his efforts he was named the KCAA’s Mr. Soccer and was first team All-State.
Asked to name his biggest thrills, he cheerfully recalls a victory over Bluegrass United.
Earlier in the year, the Titans fell 1-0, but the second time around they blanked United 5-1, for the team’s first victory over Bluegrass in recent memory.
It’s a similar story with North Hardin Christian, a team Trinity hadn’t defeated in years. That’s what made this year’s 8-0 whipping so sweet.
“That felt great,” Caleb said. “Both of those games were really fun.”
At 5-foot-7, 135 pounds, Caleb is far from the biggest player on the field but he’s always among the fastest – a trait that college coaches notice.
Caleb has been accepted at Cedarville (Ohio) University, which plays soccer at the NCAA Division II level.
No one knows Caleb’s skills better than his father, Paul, Trinity’s soccer coach and a former college player.
“He is tenacious, a relentless defender who never lets down,” Paul said. “He always wants to mark the opponent’s best player. He’s disciplined, fearless and a good tackler.”
Caleb is equally tenacious in the classroom. He has a 3.85 GPA, scored 27 on the ACT and has won six Art of Learning Awards, given to students who show hard work, diligence and a desire to succeed.
Like all upperclassmen at Trinity, whose curriculum is rooted in Christianity and the Classics, Caleb must produce a year-long thesis project. As a junior, he wrote and defended a paper on American individualism and consumerism and its clash with Christian principles.
A history buff, Caleb this year has tackled the Cold War, contrasting the Truman Doctrine with the Reagan Doctrine, policies each U.S. president pursued against the Soviet Union.
Why the Cold War? “I wanted to learn more about it,” he said.
“He has always been inquisitive,” said his mother, Carrie who homeschooled Caleb through fourth grade. “He has a good memory, loves history and has a drive to do well.”