Firestorm, Read = understatement: Former Dust Devils’ forward set to report to Arizona Christian’s practice on Friday
MOHAVE VALLEY — Former River Valley High School Dust Devils forward Devin Read is productive no matter where he is on the pitch.
Read’s hustle, anticipation and nose for the soccer ball has produced numerous scoring opportunities, as well as goals, because he has scored when he was or was not the focal point of the River Valley offense.
After four seasons at River Valley, Read is set to attend classes at Arizona Christian University and will be particiapting in his first day of soccer practice for the NAIA Firestorm on Friday.
Read, who earned 2017-18 Arizona Interscholastic 3A Region VI Player of Year honors, signed his letter of intent to attend ACU in February.
River Valley’s record was 7-6 overall and 6-1 in the AIA 3A Conference, Section VI after earning its second playoff berth in as many years in 2017-18.
“Knowing I’m going to play college soccer is a dream come true,” Read said. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given. This is just a one step to my goal of playing in the MLS one day. I have to work hard, but I’m ready for it.
“Growing up, I’ve always wanted to go to the next level, but it never actually settled into my mind until about my junior year.”
Read said he visited ACU’s camp in late November after Firestorm head coach Ian Johnson invited him to attend.
“I love the campus, it’s super nice,” Read said.
The AIA 3A Conference Honorable Mention said ACU’s campus is small.
“It’s 85 percent athletes,” Read added, “so I’ll fit in nice.”
Read said he is getting $8,000 per year, which will be going toward tuition and housing.
“We saw him at our ID camp and our first impressions were that he was a tireless worker and had a nose for the goal,” said Johnson by email. “After we saw him at the ID camp we were hosting, we pursued him joining the team, and it seems like a great fit — all around it was a pretty smooth process overall.”
The former River Valley forward scored 19 goals and tallied 12 assists in 11 games during his senior season, and Johnson has noticed Read’s intangibles.
When asked about Read’s quickness, great ball-handling skills and his relentless energy/stamina, which makes him a defender’s nightmare, Johnson said, “Yes, I agree completely based on what we have seen. I think all teams need guys like Devin who can get better, but can make an impression. ...”
It did not take long during Read’s freshman season for AIA competitors to discover that his relentless approach was going to cause chaos in their defensive zone.
Confirming Read’s immediate impact, he earned AIA Division III, Section II Honorable Mention accolades following the 2014-15 season.
Not only did Read’s hustle, stamina and tenacity inject life into the Dust Devils’ attack, his passing and shooting skills helped River Valley light up the scoreboard.
“When I say he has a nose for (the) goal, these are the kinds of things I mean,” Johnson said. “He is the kind of player than can make something out of nothing or find a loose ball in the box and poke it in. These are important characteristics in a player.”
Alan Schmitt, who was Read’s head coach during his first three seasons at River Valley, said by cell phone that he and his former player texted back and forth about Arizona Christian in February.
“I’m proud of him as a player and as a student,” added Schmitt. “It’s very good for the area. It’s just a good thing that Devin’s moving on.”
Schmitt said he could shoot the ball while playing college soccer, and Read’s former high school coach said the future