What could be better than to go to college for reasons you feel are important in your life, and then have the added bonus of playing a sport that you dearly love. North Platte's Hunter Deidel will have that opportunity, after signing with Grace University in Omaha on Friday to play soccer. Grace University is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association.
Deidel, a fullback on the North Platte soccer team, knew that Grace University was going to be a good fit for him. Hunter is the son of Mike Deidel of North Platte and Diana Fleer of Omaha.
"I have known about Grace from my brother, who had looked at the school," Deidel said. "I knew they had a good soccer program and I want to be a youth pastor.
"I want to serve God with my life. I knew they had a good program for youth ministries and they have a good soccer team that wouldn't exactly take over my life, but I could have a lot of fun to glorify God with.
"Plus it's a really personal college with not many on the campus. Everybody there is just fun loving and caring — a place I would love to be at."
Grace University Royals coach Jon McNeel is looking forward to having Deidel on campus.
"We had the opportunity to meet Hunter at what we call 'Grace Days'," McNeel said. "It's an opportunity for kids to come on campus to meet coaches and meet other players.
"We had the opportunity for Hunter to play with current members, and perspective players for the future, to see how they would do in a game environment. So it's been really good to get to know Hunter and to see the talent that's out there and look at the future."
Deidel's high school coach, Mary Elmshaeuser, said she has had a longstanding relationship with her athlete.
"He's meant a lot," the coach said, "He's been a leader since the beginning. Hunter always listens, he pays attention, and has wanted to get better.
"I was Hunter's third grade teacher, his sixth grade teacher, and also his soccer coach in high school. He's meant a lot to me personally, as a student athlete, and he will be missed next year because he has given a lot of leadership to the younger kids.
Elmshaeuser said Deidel's faith has meant a lot to him over the years.
"I think that's a really good fit for him so that he can still have that background," Elmshaeuser said. "He's a straight 'A' student and also a good soccer player, so with all those components in his life, he will look to further each one."
The future looks promising for Deidel, as he prepares for his future at Grace University.
"I know I'm going to have a lot of fun," he said. "I always saw soccer as a gift that God gave me, so for me to glorify God in something I love — then why not. I can't wait to play next year."