MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

February 9, 2013

Fort Gibson soccer player signs with ORU

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— Austin Ford, a fourth-year starter for the Fort Gibson Tigers soccer program, signed a national letter of intent on Friday to play at Oral Roberts University.

Ford, who first started as a forward his freshman year, has 20 goals and 30 assists in three seasons. He caught the eye of ORU coach Steve Hayes while playing for his Tulsa United club team.

“He’d seen me off and on and then flew out to an Alabama showcase I was in and at that point said he wanted me to come to ORU,” said Ford, who up to then was being pursued by Oklahoma City University.

Todd Friend, his coach at Fort Gibson, called Ford “a very skillful player who will fit in well at ORU.”

“He’s always been a kid who has been committed to soccer and works hard at it,” he said. “Since he started (at 5), he’s probably only missed five practices with club and school teams combined. Obviously what he’s done at the club level speaks volumes, but to be a part of our program shows the kids coming up through the program that we do have good players and the door of opportunity to achieve big things is there here.”

Ford is the first Division I signee from the area since Jacqueline Schwarz signed with Auburn out of Muskogee High in 2002.