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Webb’s soccer adventure leads to USC-Sumter

Posted: May 24, 2018 12:01 p.m.
Updated: May 25, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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CAMDEN HIGH’S HUNTER WEBB signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and soccer-playing pursuits at USC-Sumter while flanked by his parents, Christy and Ken Webb. Looking on, from left, are Camden High principal Dan Matthews, CHS boys’ soccer coach Jerry Jones, Webb’s sister, Hailey Webb, and CHS athletic director, Brian Rimpf.

Coaches like to talk about the kids they coach who would try and knock down a brick wall, if asked.

Camden High boys’ soccer coach Jerry Jones never requested that Hunter Webb undertake such a task. Rest assured, however, if Webb could have done so he would have, given his desire to please. It is part of the makeup of Webb,  whose father served our country in the military, and  lived part of his life in Alaska playing hockey.

“He was my captain and a kid I could rely on,” Jones said of Webb’s passion for the game. “You ask him to do something and he would do it. I’d tell him go get me a goal and he would do everything he could to get a goal. And, if he couldn’t do it, he would do everything he could to help provide one of our other players to get one for us.”

For two seasons, Webb was a player Jones could count on. Now, Webb will take his skills up along Highway 521 after having signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and soccer endeavors at USC-Sumter.

Webb’s connection to the Fire Ants’ program came in a roundabout way. While attending a Coerver United soccer camp, he worked with a coach who hailed from England who got Webb in touch with his former coaching colleague, Skottowe Fox, who had just accepted the head coaching post at USC-Sumter. Shortly thereafter, the recruitment of Webb began.

“I reached out to (Fox) and I went there for an impromptu tour,” Webb said. “We met and I fell in love with the campus and with their style of play. Then, we went from there.”

As for Fox’s style of play, Webb said he envisions himself being able to fit in nicely with what the Fire Ants want to do. “It suits me. It’s very speed-oriented and very possessive,” Webb said. “They work the ball up the field and have more counter-attacks. That’s how I play.”

A player who can play wing on either side of the field or, who can be moved to play left or right midfielder, Webb said getting the ball to the striker and attacking the goal is what suits his personal style.

“My style of play,” he said, “is that we work back real low and as soon as we run the ball, we sprint up the field. (The ball goes) to our striker, we cut in behind him and they play us and then, hopefully, we have a scoring chance. That’s the ideal scenario.”

Jones said his former player is technically sound along with being and very good on the ball. He laughed when telling the story as to how Webb was probably sick of hearing his coach yelling at him from the sideline, “Let’s just get the ball and move it up the field” during matches.

“Hunter has superb passing skills. He can drop a dime on your foot,” Jones said. “He moves the ball in and gets it in. He has exceptionally great crosses, especially crosses into the box and, we scored on a couple of those this season on his serves to us.”

Before being elevated to the varsity head coaching post prior to the start of the 2017 season, Jones was the head coach of the Camden junior varsity team. As he watched then-head coach Mark Chickering’s Bulldogs practice and play, Jones said he could not help but notice how well a young Hunter Webb went about his business.

“Watching Hunter play,” Jones said with a smile, “I wished that I could have taken him down there with us (at the junior varsity level) because he definitely would have helped us down there.”

Thanks in part to Webb’s play, Camden made the AAA state soccer tournament for the second time in as many years under Jones.

Webb said having played in the Bulldogs’ system has him prepared for what lies ahead at USC-Sumter.

 “USC-Sumter’s build-up is quicker than ours but that’s it,” he said. “Definitely the style of play and the experience that some guys have and how good they are on the ball and off the ball will be different than high school.”

“I think he should help them especially with the style of play that we’ve been playing,” Jones said of Webb’s transitioning from the high school to the college game. “It’s just going to be a little bit faster-paced and his stepping up another level and not changing  quite as much of the way he plays will help them a lot.”

At his father’s urging, Hunter Webb started playing sports at a young age. And, he played as many sports as were offered on or around the military bases where his family lived. 

“I played hockey, football, basketball and soccer. I started falling in love with soccer because the speed of the game. It’s not as boring as some sports. You’re always in motion and going, going, going … you’re not stopping,” he said.

Thanks to his speed and athleticism, soccer became Webb’s main athletic focus. It was not, he said, until more recently that he came to grips with the sport and it’s not being just physically tough but also involved trying to out-think the opposition.

“I was OK at it, at first. My speed helped me a lot,” he said of playing soccer. “But it wasn’t until four or five years ago that I fully understood that it’s not always about athleticism. The game’s more mental, also.”

Signing to play soccer in college fulfills a dream for Webb who, he said, was always being told by those who watched him play sports that he could play whatever sport he chose at the college level.

The blend of speed, skill and smarts, Jones said, should take Hunter Webb a long way in his college career.

 “It should help, especially with his technical ability to beat a guy, get into the open space and then, find that next pass,” Jones said. “With his being an outside player and being the guy who can beat his guy and get the ball to his forward’s foot, he will help them a lot by giving them the opportunity to score goals.”

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