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More than an athlete: Hits on all cylinders

Posted: June 15, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 15, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Santa Clarita Christian School senior Chad Latch was an All-CIF-Southern Section Division VII soccer player this year. Santa Clarita Christian School senior Chad Latch was an All-CIF-Southern Section Division VII soccer player this year.
Santa Clarita Christian School senior Chad Latch was an All-CIF-Southern Section Division VII soccer player this year.

For an athlete to work his magic and display his talent on the field is great for spectators.

If that same athlete exhibits strong character and commitment off the field, it’s great for teammates.

As for recent Santa Clarita Christian School graduate Chad Latch, put him down for all of the above.

“Every once in a while, a coach gets to coach a kid who is not only a great athlete but is just a great individual,” says Steve Cooper, SCCS boys soccer head coach. “(He’s) just a wonderful person to be around.”

After transferring to SCCS from Canyon High as a junior, Latch made himself known on campus with his excellency as a soccer player.

It didn’t take long before his reputation expanded far beyond the soccer field.

Great student, loyal friend, all-around good guy, you name it. Chad Latch embodies it.

“As a Christian, it’s learning to put others before yourself,” says Latch, who also played football and baseball at the school. “It’s easy to see when people are like that to you because I know in the past, I’ve had coaches that have done that for me.”

That’s just it. To Latch, it never seemed like he was going above and beyond. He was merely doing his job as a teammate, a student and a Christian.

Whether it’s teaching less experienced players, maintaining a 3.6 GPA or teaching younger kids at Sunday school, Latch was always up for it.

What sets him apart is “just the way he conducts himself, not only in sports, but in all that he does,” says fellow SCCS baseball player and friend Ryan Fullarton. “He’s just an example to everyone in what it means to work hard, and he’s just a leader on and off campus.”

His contributions on campus are clear.

This season in soccer, Latch was an All-CIF-Southern Section Division VII first-team selection, scoring 16 goals and assisting 12 others.

In March, he signed with The Master’s College, where he’ll play soccer beginning this fall.

Soccer has always been his main sport. Between American Youth Soccer Organization and club, he’s been playing it for most of his life.

He played one year for the freshman team at Canyon before transferring back to SCCS, where he attended junior high.

Latch quickly established himself as a standout soccer player at the school, not that it changed his attitude.

“This was a humble kid,” Cooper says. “It’s hard to not know you’re a great athlete when you’ve got everyone telling you you are all the time.”

Soon, word got out around the school that he was a strong athlete.

SCCS head football and baseball coach Garrick Moss asked Latch if he would play football.

Latch played the entire season as the starting kicker.

Then, during soccer season in the winter, Moss, along with Fullarton and a few others, talked Latch into joining the baseball team.

Again, the senior obliged.

By the time spring rolled around, Latch’s schedule was piling up as soccer and baseball were overlapping and advanced placement classes were ramping up.

“I’ve never quit anything before, and once I started, there was no turning back at that point,” Latch says.

He split time between left and center field on the baseball team, starting most of the season, and batting .261 with 10 RBIs and 12 hits in 46 at-bats.

These were numbers of a first-year prep baseball player.

“It was fun even though he was new to baseball and hadn’t played in high school before, you could tell that he cared about each and every game,” Fullarton says. “His emotion was there every single game.”

And now Latch moves on to the next step, where he can pour his efforts into college soccer and studying kinesiology at TMC.

It’ll be a chance for him to spread his charm around another campus and another group of people.

That’s what he does.

“When he’s done playing, you will be reading about him and how he coaches his team,” Cooper says. “I may not be alive to see that, but he will become a fabulous coach.”



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