NRHS soccer player goes D-I

Published 10:32 pm Thursday, February 6, 2014

Nansemond River High School soccer player Chad Kozoyed signed to play for and attend Longwood University on Wednesday.

Nansemond River High School soccer player Chad Kozoyed signed to play for and attend Longwood University on Wednesday.

Chad Kozoyed became the first Nansemond River High School soccer player on Wednesday known to have signed with a Division I school, according to NR activities director Nancy Richey.

Kozoyed committed to Longwood University during an afternoon ceremony at the school with family and friends present.

He was excited and already had an initial collegiate goal in place for when he joins the Lancers.

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“I definitely would like to get in and make an impact right away, and hopefully earn my spot,” he said.

Kozoyed will be a three-year letterman with the Warriors after he plays for them once more this spring. He played for the school as a freshman and sophomore, but not as a junior because he was with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Virginia Rush team, which bars its players from also being on a school team.

Nansemond River head coach Dustin Tordoff expressed his confidence in Kozoyed’s potential at that point.

“When he said he couldn’t play junior year, I said, ‘Well, all I’ve got to say is you better be playing D-I (in college), because you’ve got the skill, just make sure you get there,’” he said.

Kozoyed has been in the Nansemond River program since the eighth grade, and it did not take long for Tordoff to notice he was special.

“This is one of the kids that you can develop mentally at a young age,” the coach said.

As it turns out, Kozoyed was already dreaming of soccer glory at a very young age.

“Ever since I was about 4, I wanted to be a professional soccer player,” Kozoyed said. “And I wasn’t as, I guess, determined until probably about my sixth- or seventh-grade year with thinking about, ‘Yeah, I want to play college soccer.’”

He played his first organized soccer at the age of 9 with a select team that he stayed with until he was 14, known as the Churchland Soccer League United Junkyard Dawgs.

Later, he tried out for and joined USSDA Virginia Rush, which he said is “basically a team where we go and travel to different showcases,” playing teams from New York and Texas and others from all over the country.

During his college search, Kozoyed said he visited East Carolina University and had interested from George Mason University.

“I got interest from Longwood and went to visit there,” he said. He added that he really enjoyed it, and said, “It felt like a family, not just a team. And I just decided that’s where I want to be for the next four years.”

Tordoff believes Kozoyed will realize his goal of making an immediate impact.

“The coach will be overjoyed with the player he’s getting as far as work ethic, skill, attitude, leadership, coach-ability,” he said. “Everything you look for as a coach, he’s that in the package.”

Kozoyed has primarily played as a center midfielder, and will be asked to fill this role at Longwood, as well, with a defensive approach.

“He’ll be the coach on the field,” Tordoff said. Then, he expressed excitement for having the high school senior for his own upcoming season. “He’ll be an asset to our team, for sure.”

At Longwood, Kozoyed plans to major in pre-physical therapy.