By Rick White
Dewayne Roberts has only scratched the surface of his potential as a goalkeeper, according to Eastern New Mexico men’s soccer coach Travis McCorkle.
Roberts, who didn’t play organized soccer until this year, signed a national letter of intent with Eastern on Wednesday, one of at least 10 players expected to sign with the Hounds.
Roberts’ athleticism, instincts and toughness more than make up for his lack of experience, which is why McCorkle said the Clovis senior is one of the foundations of his first recruiting class for the first-year program.
“Goal keeping is one the area we wanted to fill first,” said McCorkle, who also coaches women’s soccer at Eastern.
“To me, it’s going to be incredible to watch him blossom one he learns more about the game. The more he plays, the better he’s going to get.”
A decent cross country runner his first three years at Clovis, Roberts said a friend to convinced his to give soccer a try.
The love affair with the sport was almost instant.
“I had watched it on TV and I knew the rules, but I had never really played it before,” Roberts said. “But once I started playing it I really found I like it a lot.”
Clovis coach Shaun Gill said the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Roberts is as tough as they come, recklessly throwing his body around to make saves.
“He was just fearless,” Gill said. “You could see he had a lot of raw ability. And he’s very competitive. He takes every goal against him personally.”
On a rebuilding 3-16 team, Roberts saw a lot of shots. He averaged 12.4 saves a game, many of the spectacular variety as the Wildcats gave up a lot of easy scoring chances.
In fact, it was how Roberts continued to play hard even in lopsided loss that caught McCorkle’s attention.
“He was still out there trying to perform to the best of his abilities not matter what the score was,” McCorkle said.