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Sigman will keep getting his kicks at Limestone College

Posted: May 15, 2017 3:29 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2017 1:00 a.m.
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L-E SENIOR PATRICK SIGMAN signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and soccer pursuits at Limestone College while flanked by his parents, Scott and Laura Adams. Standing, from left, are L-E athletic director Matt Campbell, L-E assistant soccer coach Matt Spolski, L-E head soccer coach Paul Witt and L-E principal Worth Thomasson.

There are times when a coach knows the quality of an athlete which he is getting in his program by what that person does away from the playing field.

Lugoff-Elgin senior Patrick Sigman is an honor roll student in the classroom, holds down a job in the days and hours away from school while also having been a four-time letterwinner for the Demons’ soccer team in the spring. Now, he can add something new to the resume.

With the stroke of a pen, Sigman became the newest member of the Limestone College soccer program when he signed a National Letter of Intent with the Saints.

L-E head coach Paul Witt has little doubt that his former center/midfielder has what it takes to be a success at the college level and, in his professional life.

“First and foremost, Patrick’s a leader,” Witt said of the 5-foot-8, 150-pound Sigman. “This was his fourth year as a captain or co-captain. In school, he’s very dedicated to his academics. He’s always been real particular; he didn’t want to go to just any college. It was more important to him that had the program he wanted to study. That impressed me about him.

“His work ethic is incredible. His parents own a restaurant and he works there. He’s always been able to balance school, athletics and work.”

Sigman, who helped the Demons to a second-place finish in Region 6-4A and to a 10-8 record, plans to major in sports medicine at Limestone. He said he fell in love with all aspects of the Gaffney institution starting with head coach Eric Alsop to the campus and his future teammates.

“They’re just a very good program and, athletic-wise, they’re an all-around solid team,” Sigman said of the Saints’ program. “They have a very good coaching staff and team.”

Signing to play soccer in college has been a dream come true for Sigman, who first took up the sport at the age of 10. “My stepfather and all my brothers played before me so, it was what I group up around,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do; to play more seriously.”

Soccer was more than just a high school season proposition for Sigman who has played club soccer in the Midlands since 2012 and, since 2014, has been a member of South Carolina United. That year, he was also named as the most valuable player for Witt’s Demons.

As someone who started his high school career playing in goal for the L-E junior varsity when he was in the seventh and eighth grades, Sigman can be utilized almost anywhere on the field. At Limestone, he expects to be playing at center and midfielder with the possibility of being tried as a center-back.

Wherever he ends up, Sigman said he knows the game will be an entirely new experience at the college level.

“It’s going to be a much different level than what I’m used to,” he said of the college game as compared to high school or club soccer.

“The physicality of it is much different because you’re no longer playing with guys who are doing it for fun. You’re doing it against guys who are doing it for a career and such. It’s just taking it to the next level.”

The game itself will change in college where much more contact is allowed than in high school matches. Players must be able to battle through physical play and not expect a whistle when they are bumped.

Witt said, in that respect, Sigman should make a smooth transition to the college game. “His athleticism and his mental and physical toughness …,” he said. “Whether it was club or here, it was not unusual for him to play a full game. There’s no issues there.”

The game will also change from a technical standpoint, Sigman said. Plays involve more set pieces and are more intricate than in high school. It requires a different approach, he said.

“Here, we play a much more direct form of soccer,” said Sigman. “In college, I’ll be able to relax, be more patient and play more quality than what we did here.”

Another thing which Sigman will have to get used to in playing college soccer is that conditioning and practice continue throughout the year. There is little off time as opposed to the high school season in which the South Carolina High School League dictates when practices and conditioning work can be held.

“Fitness-wise, it’s going to be a lot more painful having to go through all the practices and such. Mentally, it’s going to be tiring. I’m just going to have to get over that,” Sigman said.

Sigman said that, away from the field, he must get used to being away from home and adjusting to his new surroundings.

Witt added that occasional bouts of homesickness are not the only thing a freshman student-athlete must be prepared to handle.

“Speed of play … speed of play,” he said of changes in going from high school to playing a sport in college. “That and it’s almost like a job to play athletics in college. Your mindset has to be, ‘OK. This is what I have to do.’ You don’t have somebody checking on your grades for you to make sure that you’re doing well in class. That’s not the coach’s job anymore.

“Patrick should be fine with all that, though.”

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