Dalton Churchwell: Legacy soccer player making the family proud

Emma Collins

Georgia Southern men’s soccer midfielder and defender Dalton Churchwell has a stronger tie to his school than most of his teammates do. Close to twenty years ago, his father played soccer for the Eagles, making Dalton the second generation of his family to play for the team.

“He loves it. He wanted me to play from the beginning,” Churchwell said.

Churchwell’s story is a bit of an unusual one. Right out of high school, he played soccer at Darton College in Albany, Ga. Eventually, he made the decision to transfer to Georgia Southern University, where he had ultimately hoped to end up.

“I played soccer my whole life, and I played a year of soccer at Darton College, and then I transferred here. I didn’t end up playing—just did two years of school and wanted to play again, so I decided to walk on,” Churchwell said.

Anyone on campus has the option of participating in walk-on tryouts for the soccer team, and that is precisely what Churchwell chose to do. During tryouts, the walk-ons must prove that they are skilled players and that they can play at a level close to that of the existing team.

For Churchwell, the most difficult part of walk-on tryouts was how physically demanding they were.

“It was tough at first because I was way out of shape, but it was fun once I got back into shape,” he said.

During tryouts, the coaches saw talent and potential in Churchwell, and he was ultimately selected to play for the Eagles. Usually for those chosen to play for the team, the adjustment of balancing being a full-time athlete and a full-time student can be difficult. For Churchwell, though, it wasn’t much of a change because he had had experience at Darton.

“I’ve already played soccer at college level, so it was a quick transition. Everyone’s pretty nice on the team, so it was pretty easy transition,” Churchwell said.

Churchwell encouraged others to try out for the team, even though it is difficult. Churchwell is one of the few who have tried out as a walk-on and actually made the team.

“Try it out. You never know what will happen,” Churchwell said.

Churchwell has been playing for the Eagles for a year now, and his father continues to be a proud supporter of the team and of his son.

“He’s really happy—he’s at every game,” Churchwell said.