On Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, Cheltenham senior Justin Grady was recognized for signing a letter of intent to continue his soccer career at George Washington University. To view photos of the event, please visit the Photo Gallery by clicking on the following link: https://solsports.zenfolio.com/p750950013
Justin Grady – George Washington University (Soccer)
Final list of colleges: George Washington, Colgate, Lafayette, Villanova, Penn State
Reasons for choosing George Washington: “I love it down in D.C. My sister goes to school down there, and we go there a lot as a family. I like the city, and when I went to visit the school, I liked the campus a lot. GW was the best fit.
“Before GW even contacted me, I was pretty set on going to Colgate. Just at the right time, GW swooped in, and they started talking to me. When I went down there, I really loved it. They have a great program, the school is academically competitive, as well as the soccer aspect – they’re a pretty good team, and they were able to give me the right amount of money, so that was the decision I made.”
What was the progression that led you to competing in soccer at the collegiate level? “Since a little kid, it’s everyone’s dream to play in college. I guess when I realized I could actually make it happen was sometime around sophomore year because I started getting good, and I started getting interest. It was pretty cool because I never thought it was something that could actually happen. Now here we are. I was getting a lot of interest from a lot of different schools. It’s just an exciting process.”
Soccer coach Bill Tonkin says: “His athleticism as a goalie, his leadership on the field, the way he talked to the other players, supported them and picked them up made him an unbelievable person to have on the team. He made the hard saves look easy. Saves that no other goalie could make – he made them. To be first team all-league for two years while I was here says a lot about him that he beat out the seniors his junior year. He was a unanimous decision this year. All eight coaches in the league voted for him for first team. That’s a compliment to him and his abilities. Now to get a scholarship to George Washington is a very big honor to receive.
“(His strengths as a goalie) were his instincts, his athleticism, his ability to anticipate what’s going to happen and get there before other people did. He took risks as well. He wasn’t afraid to take a risk here or there to get to a ball that other goalies wouldn’t get to. He’s number one in my book right now. It’s been a short career for me, but he’s number one so far.”
Football coach Ryan Nase says: “We gave a special teams award at our banquet, and I think that’s the perfect word to describe Justin – he’s just special. He can do everything on the field, he’s got a 4.0 GPA, and the type of person he is. I told coach a couple of times – if he wasn’t such a good soccer player, he probably would have started at running back, wide receiver or tight end. He’s that good of an athlete. Weight room-wise, he lifted mostly with offensive linemen because he was so strong.
“I’ll be honest – we hardly ever practiced kickoffs last season because we were so spoiled. We just said, ‘Justin, kick it through the uprights.’ A couple of times he came pretty close. Not only that, his junior year when we weren’t quite as good at getting down and covering, he could place the ball in different spots for us. He’s gotten on-sides kicks. He really is extremely important, and then, handling the punting duties for us as well. That’s actually a lot harder than people realize – to kick off, do field goals and extra points and also punt. He’s special.”
Favorite food: Smoked Chops & Yellow Rice
Favorite TV show: The Office
Favorite music: Hip Hop/Kendrick Lamar & ASAP Rocky