Josh Wood. Photo by David Grace.
KINGSPORT — The plot has the making for a good television movie. Talented athlete signs scholarship, athlete excels at sport, injuries hamper career, athlete overcomes adversity and garners a National Player of the Year award as well as a national title.
The storyline goes along with the decorated career Josh Wood just completed at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
The former Sullivan South standout wrapped up his athletic career for Messiah just a few weeks ago helping the Falcons collect their 10th national title.
Wood had the game-winning assist in the 2-1 win over Rutgers-Camden.
The championship ring will go along with the other three championship rings that were acquired in his five years in the program.
The national title was still warm when Wood was awarded Player of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. This honor coincides with other numerous awards, including NSCAA Scholar All-American, First Team All-American and First Team Capital One Academic All-American.
While this year finished in a flurry of honors and a championship, the road getting there was not so easy.
From 2010-11 a series of injuries including a broken collarbone, sports hernia and surgeries for hip impingements limited him to just 11 games.
“It was almost funny. Some people have the same injury, like a knee issue. But me, it was something different each time,” said Wood.
“I had two surgeries on my collarbone, then came back in great shape and tore my groin. During the groin procedure, they discovered a problem with my hips that causes severe stress on the muscles and ligaments. They could only do one hip, then I had to wait just over three months to do the other one.
“The injuries pretty much killed two seasons. But my parents paid for the surgeries and rehab, and I am grateful they gave me the opportunity to play again,” he said.
The opportunity wasn’t squandered. Wood led Messiah this season with 21 goals and seven assists. He ranked seventh in the nation for goals and sixth for total points (49). He finished his career with 51 goals, 22 assists and 20 game-winning goals.
“I was so thankful to get to come back for the fifth year. It was a long road back. And truth be told, anywhere else, I may have given up,” Wood said. “This was a chance to contribute as a leader and provide some guidance that comes with experience.”
Wood graduated with a degree in cross cultural ministry and has already accepted a position in North Carolina with the Charlotte Eagles.
The Eagles are a mission organization that sponsor sports camps for the youth in Charlotte.
He will also be taking on another role as he has wedding plans for the spring.
“I benefited so much during my time at Messiah from people showing me hope and compassion during my injuries. I was able to share what got me through and get a chance to interact with others who want to make it but lose sight and hopefully help them realize the importance of priorities,” Wood added.
As Wood moves on, Messiah will still have a Kingsport connection. Dobyns-Bennett’s Austin Pate just finished up his freshman year with the soccer team.
“Austin played behind an All-American at center back, so his time was limited this season. He has a great attitude and a high maturity level. His future is bright, he’s just waiting for an opportunity,” said Wood.