BETHALTO - Civic Memorial High School senior Bryce Davis signed to continue his academic and athletic career at McKendree University Thursday afternoon in front of family, friends, and teammates.

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For his success, Bryce is a Tom Lane State Farm Insurance Athlete of the Month for the Eagles

He will be playing collegiate soccer at the Division II level, something he is very excited about.

"It feels great," Bryce said. "It's very nice staying close. All the friends and family can come around and support, it feels amazing."

He cited that his older sister is getting ready to have a baby and that being close to home just made sense.

According to CM boys soccer head coach Derek Jarman, Bryce was easily one of the top high school prospects in the greater St. Louis region and could have gone a lot of places.

Among other options was Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) where long-time friends Joe Aiello, and Brayden Zyung as well as Charlie Fahnestock and Myles Paniagua from Marquette Catholic recently signed.

"At the time I felt like it was too late and I would have made myself look like a follower instead of a leader," Bryce said. "I don't want that to be a persona of me. I want to be a leader instead of a follower and so that is the route that I took."

"It's a great opportunity for a great kid," Jarman said. "He's earned all of this and I'm glad to see it coming together for him. I can't wait to see what he does at the next level."

While at CM Bryce liked to score goals, a lot of goals, more goals than anyone else had in program history.

After an insane 61-goal campaign his senior season, he set the school record for most goals scored in a single season. Throughout all four years, he scored a combined 126 goals also breaking the all-time scoring record.

"It's going to be tough to break that career-wise. During his freshman year, he said 'I want to break the all-time record and break the school record for goals in a season' and I'm like 'slow down a little bit,' Jarman said jokingly.

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"A lot of kids say that and a lot of people say hey, there's my goal. To surpass it almost two-fold, he really destroyed the record books."

Bryce said he knew he had a chance to break the scoring record after his sophomore year. He said he went into every season like he had something to prove.

He and his 12 other seniors that will be graduating this Spring, had the goal of leaving a mark at CM, and they certainly did.

"That was the plan since freshman year. I can definitely say we left a legacy," Bryce said.

While at McKendree Bryce plans to study sports management, but he's got bigger plans.

"I'm mainly looking forward to regrouping with a whole bunch of guys that I can hopefully soon call my family, finding my place, leaving my mark there, and maybe going somewhere bigger," he said.

Before Bryce and those other 12 seniors came along, CM had seven straight losing seasons. When they all arrived in the 2019-20 season, they immediately made an impact that turned the program around.

While Bryce was at CM the Eagles had a four-year record of 74-23-1 and went 22-18 in a very tough Mississippi Valley Conference.

Throughout those four years, Bryce said that his favorite memory was beating Mascoutah his senior year to get to the Sectional Finals.

"That was a very meaningful win for me because one, it was at our home and two, it was the farthest we've ever gone," he said. "I was just really thankful to be a part of that program and get it to the next level."

After the signing Bryce was very humble in his regard to his parents.

"I'm extremely thankful," he said. "Without my mom and dad, I couldn't have been to most of the states I've been to, I wouldn't have been traveling, I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for them and I just hope to give back to them one day."

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