ELIZABETHTOWN — Former East Bladen High standout Israel Evans has signed a national letter of intent to play his collegiate soccer at North Carolina State.
Evans, who now attends Shattuck St. Mary’s, a boarding school in Faribault, Minn., was a three-time first-team all-conference player and a three-time first-team all-region selection. He was also tabbed all-state after his sophomore season with the Eagles and was a member of the North Carolina and Region III Olympic Development team.
Jay Raynor, Evans’ coach at East Bladen, said younger players who are serious about improving their soccer skills, can learn a lot from the effort Evans put in as a high-school player.
“… I wish young kids would look at what he has done, what he is doing and his work ethic, and learn from him,” Raynor said about East Bladen’s all-time leading scorer. “I have never seen someone who had the work ethic, talent and drive that ‘Izzy’ has … he never settles.”
With his signing at N.C. State, Evans becomes part of the third-ranked recruiting class in the country and first-ranked in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
He is also the first former East Bladen and Bladen County soccer player to go on to play collegiately at the Div. I level.
“‘Izzy’ has worked really hard to get to this level …” Raynor said. “There have been several times when he has experienced some form of adversity, and never once did he let that get the best of him.”
Shattuck St. Mary’s has built a nationally recognized soccer program and, during his current senior season, Evans has contributed to a 10-2-3 record going into the spring season.
“‘Izzy’ has set his goal on getting a college education and then going on to play professional soccer,” Raynor said. “He will not stop until he reaches that goal. ‘Izzy’ is very thankful and he knows that all of these things wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for his faith and the Lord.
“Faith, family, school and soccer is the order of importance in ‘Izzy’s’ life,” he added.
Attempts to contact the Shattuck St. Mary’s coaching staff and N.C. State coaching staff were unsuccessful.
Massengill is all-region
Matt Massengill, a junior at East Bladen High and first-team All-Four County Conference selection after the 2013 soccer season, was recently tabbed first team All-Region by the North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association.
“Matt had a really good year for us and was one of the main components of a pretty good defense,” Raynor said. “Although we were fairly young in the back, we did a pretty good job defending (but) when there were breakdowns Matt was able to make some good saves for us.”
Massengill was credited with just under seven saves per match and recorded six shutouts for the Eagles.
East Bladen finished the season at 11-11-2.