06/22/13 — Costa shares love for soccer at EW camp

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Costa shares love for soccer at EW camp

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 22, 2013 11:11 PM

He laced up his kicks, stepped toward a soccer ball and kicked it with precision. The black-and-white sphere barely skimmed the grass which dried in the late-morning sun on the well-manicured Little Big Horn pitch.

Yep, David Costa was back in his element, soaking up every minute he could during a recent soccer camp at his alma mater -- Eastern Wayne. Campers listened to the second-year North Carolina State assistant coach, who netted numerous goals and played in the annual East-West All-Star game to cap his high school career with the Warriors.

"It was a big part of my experience at Eastern Wayne having people invest in you, help you grow as a person," said Costa, a 1999 graduate. "To come back and be able to do the same thing for the people here, it's something I've wanted to do (and it's been) a matter of finding the time because I've wanted to get back to Goldsboro."

Costa showed the campers a glimpse of the higher-level, higher-paced collegiate game during an attacking session. He shared some techniques and hopes he helped build some good habits that the campers will apply when they play for their respective teams in the fall.

A graduate of Charlotte, Costa admits his work ethic wasn't strong in high school. He'd labor through a practice or struggle to complete a drill that tested his confidence.

Wagner recognized Costa's talent and worked diligently to boost his self esteem. It worked as Costa helped guide the Warriors to back-to-back Class 4-A Mideastern Conference championships in 1998 and 1999, and was named the Class 4-A MEC player-of-the-year in 1999.

Eastern Wayne concluded Costa's senior campaign ranked No. 4 in the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association 4-A poll.

"Fortunately, coach took time to invest in me individually (and) I trusted him," Costa said. "I've been fortunate to be around good people, not just good coaches. You have to invest in your players because they're going to do well for you if they trust you, and know you care about them."

Costa sometimes shares that message with recruits.

He scours the country for the best players who are disciplined, hard-working and want to do things well in all parts of their lives. Of course, it doesn't take much to convince them to play in the highly-competitive Atlantic Coast Conference, which has churned out five of the last eight men's national champions, including North Carolina most recently in 2011.

Costa arrived at N.C. State after serving as an assistant for five seasons with current head coach Kelly Findley at Butler University. The duo helped the Bulldogs post a program-record 16 wins and end the season ranked No. 5 nationally in 2010.

"Any time you take over a program, there's going to be culture changes, personnel changes and you look for something different than with the previous staff," Costa said. "That's been the process that will take about three years to get the culture right to move forward. You seek and identify the best players you can find, but players who fit your system.

"The players understand, and are up to the expectations placed on them and the program. The ACC is phenomenal and competitive every year with future professional players."