The Dover High School soccer program is sending one of its players on to the next level as senior Nick Bolton will move on to play at Rowan University next fall.

The Dover High School soccer program saw one of its recent stars take the next step in his career last week, as senior Nick Bolton committed to play next fall at Rowan University.

Bolton will join the Division III team that is a part of the New Jersey Athletic Conference and said he hopes to jump right in and contribute.

To do that, he said he’s going to utilize his strong work ethic and versatility to give his coach options.

“I’m going to work really hard and hopefully fight for a starting position,” Bolton said. “We talked about where I’d play and we don’t really know yet. He thinks he sees me as a defensive midfielder, but I’ve played striker, midfield and even defense. So I’ll play wherever he needs me.”

According to Rowan Head Coach Dan Gilmore, it was Bolton’s versatility that made him such an attractive prospect to the soccer program.

In recent years, Gilmore said he’s been trying to recruit more players that could play anywhere on the field, as opposed to someone such as a cookie-cutter defender, attacker, etc.

He added that he’s always open to the idea of starting freshmen, meaning Bolton would have just as much of a chance as anyone to take the field in the fall.

“We started four freshmen last year,” Gilmore said. “We think he has the ability to do that and that’s why we’re so high on him.”

The Rowan coach was quick to add that the adjustment to collegiate soccer is a tough one, and how Bolton responds to it is up to him.

“The biggest thing I’ve told him is that at this level everyone standing next to you was a superstar somewhere,” he said. “So it comes down to, did you work harder than everyone else over the summer? Did you do all the intangible things to prepare for training camp?”

“All the indications are that he is that type of kid.”

Bolton said he isn’t worried about the adjustment in terms of conditioning because he feels he’s in better shape than most of his peers.

On top of that, the Rowan-bound soccer player said he has some un-teachable skills that should make him stand out.

“My vision and my passing ability help me a lot,” he said. “I can score, but I like to set up people more.”

In terms of his vision, Dover Head Coach Paul Booten said Bolton was unlike most players he’d ever coached.

“It’s what I call the soccer brain, and in him it’s almost unmatched,” Booten said. “He’s on a different level when it comes to that.”

As for losing one of his better players, the Dover coach said it’s going to be tough to replace Bolton, but the influence he left on the young Senator players would last.

“I hate to lose him,” Booten said. “Last year was tough for us because we lost a lot of seniors, and Nick became our big leader. He helped mold all those kids that were so young last year and are coming up next year. We just hate to see him go.”

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