The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 14, 2012

Martin tabbed Regional Player of the Year

Van Holland

TARBORO — During his four years playing for Tarboro Vikings head coach Leshaun Jenkins, senior goalie Travis Martin learned a lot of life values. He learned to have a lot of determination, never to give up, have heart and to always have mental toughness.

Those four things were in Martin's mind coming into his senior season after he missed his entire junior season because of a knee injury. But he continued to work and got his knee back to 100 percent and was able to come back and play his senior campaign. Martin's hard work paid off for him even though the Vikings had a subpar year. He was recently named the Regional Player of the year.

"It means a lot to me to be named Regional Player of the Year because of everything we as a team worked for in the summer paid off," Martin said. "All of the long hours we put in just means a lot to me."

Martin is the third Viking soccer player to receive the award. Ricardo Arias received the award twice, in 2008 and 2009 and Tyler Bennett was the second Viking to be given the award in 2010.

Martin has been a very vocal leader on the field for the Vikings. His career stats really aren't what Martin was about. He was a true team leader and player.

"The team worked hard and wanted to win a conference title this year but we feel short," Martin said. "We had goals set but weren't able to achieve them but I think we had a good season overall."

Martin finished his career third on the list in Vikings history in career saves with 405 and was second in the history of the program with 29 shutouts in goal.

After coming back from the knee injury, Martin wanted to make sure he was going to be healthy enough to compete and wanted to be able to help out his team with good performances in the goal.

"I wanted to give 120 percent on everything this year," Martin said. "We had team goals this year and we didn't accomplish them all."

When Martin came in to play soccer under Jenkins as a freshman, he was hesitant about what position he wanted to play. He set his mind to being a top notch goalie for the Vikings and it worked out for him.

Martin was a joy to have in the program for a lot of different reasons and had a lot of potential as a freshman when he stepped on the field for the first time.

"I saw Travis had all of those great qualities to be the next great Tarboro player," Jenkins said. "When I say next great player I really do mean that."

Jenkins knew from the moment he saw Martin as a person that he had all of the qualities that he needed to have and that Jenkins could mold him into a great player. Jenkins didn't know what type of player Martin would be, but knew he looked like a kid that he could mold.

"I know it sounds open ended but he just looked like a true player," Jenkins said. "I just felt like he was a kid that I needed to coach."

Martin brought a lot of positive qualities to the table for the Vikings. He had the heart, work desire and much more. Jenkins knew he could transform Martin into a great player.

After Martin became a Viking soccer player, he became a true superior leader on the field for them. Jenkins said there aren't words to explain what Martin meant to his program or to him personally.

"Travis was a constant reminder that this is where I needed to be," Jenkins said. "He helped me to want to continue to build our program up."

All of the life values that Martin learned under Jenkins will help him in the future he said.

"It was a great four years for me," Martin said. "It has been the best four years of my life. We had more wins then losses which means a lot to me."

Martin said during his stint playing under Jenkins, he learned positive life values and lessons that he will be able to use throughout his life.

Jenkins doesn't think he will ever coach another kid like Martin. Jenkins doesn't like to get into a ranking system, but he said he has his reasons for saying that.

"I have coached some great players but none like Travis," Jenkins said. "He is the most remarkable player that I have coached yet."

Jenkins thinks that replacing Martin in goal and on the soccer the field alone will be impossible. He will get another goalie to step in and give good performances, but Jenkins said he will never find another Travis Martin.

Jenkins and Martin became very close once he became a part of the soccer program and Jenkins thinks that relationship helped them both through the past four years.

"He was very open to be molded," Jenkins said. "Kids come in with the mindset of coach I am good or coach I am not good but Martin opened himself up to me and said here I am coach make me into whatever you need me to be."

Martin trusted Jenkins and let him guide him in the right direction and now it has paid off for him.

Martin also plays baseball for the Vikings. He is a standout shortstop and pitcher for the Vikings and has played on the varsity team since he was a sophomore.