Local soccer player to compete for national title

High School Sports

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Spartanburg middle schooler Luke Mullinax is prepared to represent the Upstate at the upcoming 3v3 Live National Championship in Alabama, bringing plenty of motivation along with him.

“Just proving everyone wrong,” said Mullinax. “We came third in the regional and just proving everyone wrong that we can win the nationals.”

Luke’s team took third at the Southern Regionals, but is ranked second in the nation.

A member of the Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (CESA), Luke will join two other players from travel teams in Georgia to compete for the ultimate prize Thanksgiving weekend. The team is comprised of three all-star players from CESA, Southern Soccer Academy and NASA Top Hat Soccer. Both of Luke’s teammates happen to be old friends from his time playing soccer as a child in the Peach State.

“We’re all talented in different areas, and we have good chemistry and we can pass really well and we’re all technical on and off the ball,” said Mullinax. “It’s been fun. We’ve been friends for a long time and we just played good together since.”

Mullinax has played with the Carolina Elite Soccer Academy for the last three years. He said it’s the skills that he’s cultivated here that have helped propel him to the national tournament.

“My coach has been really good in helping me, and taught me how to play as a team and not just for myself,” Mullinax said.

“Fantastic work ethic, athleticism, and great technique,” CESA Head Coach Roberton Hernandez said of the McCraken Middle School student. “So [it’s a] great combination, so his ceiling is where he wants to stop.”

Hernandez added the eleven-year-old is a threat to score at any moment, and isn’t surprised he’ll be competing for a national title.

“He is a playmaker, so when he has the ball you can expect everything from him…What I’m telling him is to have fun… This is a game and you have to enjoy a game.”

Regardless of what happens championship weekend, Luke will take a lasting memory and invaluable experience back with him to South Carolina.

The 3v3 Live National Championship will be held November 27-28 in Foley, Alabama.

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