Five Pelham students sign to play college sports on National Signing Day

Published 4:07 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

PELHAM – Family, friends, teammates and classmates packed out the gym at Pelham High School on Wednesday, Feb. 7 as five Pelham student-athletes signed their national letters of intent to play college sports.

The special ceremony on National Signing Day honored Panthers quarterback Clayton Mains, soccer players Raul Jacobo and Matthew Chaux, softball star McKenzie Little and tennis player Emma Trotter as they put pen to paper and made their commitments official.

Mains signed to play Division I football at Valparaiso after receiving an offer last week. As his classmates who followed him also did, he thanked his family, coaches and teammates who helped him get to this point.

“I appreciate everyone who has been in my journey with me through difficult seasons of my life and I’m beyond blessed and grateful to be in the position I am today,” Mains said.

Before Trotter signed to play tennis at Bevil State Community College, she spoke about her excitement about officially starting her journey as a college athlete.

“I just want to take a moment to express how thrilled I am to be here today,” Trotter said. “This isn’t just a signing day for me, but the beginning of a new chapter of my life.”

With her softball teammates cheering her on, Little lightened the mood by recognizing her parents’ sacrifices on the road to her signing with Huntingdon.

“Y’all have been with me since park ball with everything, my dad with pitching lessons, my mom with yelling anything that I got wrong,” Little said with a smile.

Finally, Jacobo and Chaux shared a special moment as they both signed their letters of intent to play soccer together at Southern Union.

Before Jacobo showed his appreciation to his teammates and coaches, he also honored his parents for their influence on him.

“I want to thank them for pushing me to be my absolute best,” Jacobo said. “I want to thank the criticism that they gave me, even after having a perfect game.”

Chaux expressed his gratitude to his soccer teammates with many of them in the stands to support him and Jacobo.

“I want to thank my teammates for always pushing me to pushing me to play hard, and I want to thank y’all for being here,” Chaux said.

After Pelham High School athletic director Trey Simpson and principal Kim Kiel gave their closing remarks, all five of the signees embraced their friends and family and took pictures at tables decorated with their jerseys and team colors.

The scene was a testament to the love and support that the city of Pelham has for each of the seniors. Mains was thankful to everyone in Pelham who has helped make the city feel like home.

“Growing up in this community that is so special and tightknit has given me the support and love that I think we all need in our lives,” Mains said.