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News / Opinion / Columns

Camas soccer star decides to go far away on signing day

High school sports: Tim Martinez

The Columbian
Published: February 10, 2020, 7:19am

College signing day is always a special day.

It’s a day when high school students realize their dreams of signing with a college athletic program.

Sometimes, local standouts sign with prominent athletic powers like USC, Oregon, Washington or Washington State.

More often, regional colleges are preferred landing spots for local stars. Seven of them are headed next fall to Central Washington, another seven to Western Oregon.

Western Washington, Eastern Washington, Southern Oregon and Idaho also had multiple local signees.

Then there are landing spots that are a little more obscure, like the University of Jamestown in North Dakota, where Heritage’s Cade Gardner will go to play football.

Or the schools can be more prestigious, like Brown University, where Mountain View’s Quinn Rooks will go to play baseball.

And then there’s Camas soccer player Alexzander Samodurov.

He signed last Wednesday with Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom.

If that college signing surprises you, image how Samodurov felt when he was first contacted by the school after participating in college soccer showcase two months ago.

“I was a little bit surprised,” Samodurov said. “I was skeptical. It didn’t seem like this was going to be real. But the more I learned, I got really interested really fast.”

That’s because it has long been a goal of his to attend college in Europe.

“Ever since middle school, I’ve known that after high school, I was going straight to Europe,” Samodurov said. “I’ve been looking into Spain. I’ve visited the University of Barcelona in May 2018. I was really interested in Spain, but the process is really difficult.”

A standout on his Washington Timbers FC club team, Samodurov was a first-team all-4A Greater St. Helens League selection as a sophomore and a junior for the Papermakers, earning All-Region honors as a junior.

Despite that success on the pitch, Samodurov said he was still exploring opportunities to study in Europe, even if it meant the end of his soccer playing days.

Then the opportunity from John Moores presented itself.

“I’m really, really excited,” said Samodurov, who plans on studying engineering. “For me, it’s more about academics than playing. When I was deciding, originally I was just going to go to Spain to just study and not play, because it was going to be difficult to play there. But when this opportunity came up, I just couldn’t turn it down because I love the game and I want to keep playing. And the fact that I can go to Europe, study and still play is really exciting.”

At Wednesday’s signing ceremony, Samodurov credited his coaches and parents for his athletic success, as well as one other person.

“I’d also attribute it to my sister Fiona because, four years ago, she signed with a Division I school (Grand Canyon University),” Alexzander said. “I was just trying to follow in her footsteps. She’s been a great role model for me.”

And, apparently, a source of good information on the city along the Mersey.

“I’ve actually never been to Liverpool,” Alexzander said. “But my sister has been multiple times and has nothing but good things to say. And I plan on visiting before I go there permanently.”

Now that his dream of studying in Europe is more of a reality, Samodurov can turn his attention back to the Iberian Peninsula.

“Eventually, I think I still want to go to Spain,” he said. “But I think four years in England studying, then trying to get a visa and someday moving to Spain is my ultimate goal.”

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538, tim.martinez@columbian.com or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart.