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Perhaps it was the aroma of pizza as the coaches pitched their program or, more realistically, the tour of Christopher Newport University’s campus he just wrapped up, but rising Tabb senior soccer player Derek Cook officially knew where he wanted to play college soccer.
On Aug. 16, a day removed from his latest visit to the school, Cook called CNU Men’s Soccer Head Coach Steve Shaw and told him he was committing to the Captains.
It will not be the first time Cook has played for Shaw.
When Cook was 12, he played for the U12 East End Wizards Virginia Legacy travel team under the tutelage of Shaw.
“Me and the coach know each other pretty well,” Cook said. “I’ve known all their coaches and have gone to their camps for a long time. It seemed right to go there when they offered me.”
While receiving interest from Howard University, Washington and Lee University and Brown University, Cook’s familiarity with CNU and its coaches stood out in a way with which other schools could not compete.
Leading up to his commitment, Cook visited CNU more than any other school and received his offer during a summer recruiting camp nearly two weeks before committing.
After the camp, CNU coaches pulled Cook aside and offered him a spot on the team and told him he would have a good career at the school.
From a soccer standpoint, Cook was told he will play defensive center midfield or center back for CNU, which he plays for his Virginia Legacy travel club
Two visits and a lunch with the CNU coaches at a local pizza place later, Cook knew he wanted to be a Captain for the next four years.
A day removed from his last visit at CNU, with family in attendance, Cook called Shaw and gave him his commitment.
“As soon as I committed, people were congratulating me and texting me,” Cook said. “It was pretty cool.”.