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Although he might be considered a late bloomer, North Johnston High senior Adolfo Rosales is more of a diamond in the rough that the William Peace University men’s soccer team has mined.
Rosales, a four-year starter for the Panthers, made his choice last week to join the Pacers of the NCAA Division III USA South Conference. Rosales said he also got an offer from Catawba College of the Div. II South Atlantic Conference and was recruited by Div. II University of Mount Olive and Div. III Guilford College but he chose Peace for its proximity and atmosphere.
“It’s closer to home,” explained the son of Carmen Rosales of Pine Level. “It’s only 40, 45 minutes away from my house and I just liked the environment around there. It’s in downtown Raleigh, in the city.”
Rosales said he plans to major in either biology or exercise and sports science.
Rosales leaves North Johnston as one of the most accomplished players in program history. He became just the third Panther to earn North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association All-State acclaim, joining Garrett Grady and former teammate Ian Walston, who did it twice.
Rosales, who said he didn’t start playing soccer until the age of 12, showed up as a freshman and Panthers head coach Jody Edwards put him at center midfielder, where he played all four years.
“To me, center mid is one of the hardest positions to play on the soccer field and he stepped in as a freshman,” Edwards said. “He was like a coach on the field, setting up our offense. He was the heart and soul of our team.”
The Panthers won the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference title outright last fall and shared the championship with Washington in 2016, giving Rosales a major part in two of North Johnston’s three conference crowns in program history. The 2015 team, Rosales’ sophomore season, won 21 games, the most in school history.
Rosales scored 18 goals and made 13 assists last fall, finishing his North Johnston career with 47 goals and 31 assists.
“It’s almost like playing chess. You’ve got to think ahead of time,” said Rosales, who listed his passion vision and dribbling as his best assets.
Not bad for a guy who has never played club soccer, only for the Panthers and in weekend leagues. He credited Edwards with helping him develop in the offseason.
“He should do well in college,” Edwards said. “He just has a passion for the game and combine that with great work ethic and great skills and he’s just a totally fascinating player to coach and watch.”
Rosales is eager to move up a level and see how much more he can progress.
“It happens most nights when I’m just sitting in bed and thinking,” he said. “It’s pretty crazy when I think about it because it just happened so fast. Some of my friends have told me how I’ve improved throughout the years.”