Chris Davis, a 2011 Gahanna Lincoln High School graduate, has been an area soccer standout for quite a while now, but his game and name recognition grew substantially this spring.

Chris Davis, a 2011 Gahanna Lincoln High School graduate, has been an area soccer standout for quite a while now, but his game and name recognition grew substantially this spring.

Davis, who starred for the Lions boys soccer team the past two seasons after beginning his prep career at Hartley, is in his fourth season as a member of the Columbus Crew Soccer Academy.

A forward for the U-17/18 team, Davis has made the most of his two call-ups to play with the Crew Reserve.

His first opportunity was April 23 when the Crew played Toronto FC at BMO Field in Toronto.

"I was filled, I mean filled, with butterflies to just be called up and be with them for that first game," Davis said. "I really wasn't expecting to play. I'm on the bench and I hear the coaches call out, 'Chris Davis.' I started warming up and was really nervous. I said, 'Wow, this is really happening.' It was straight-out adrenaline."

Davis entered in the 53rd minute with the game tied at 1. The Crew was playing with 10 players in the second half after a red card in the first half.

Thirteen minutes later, Davis scored on a diving header off a set piece and the Crew held off Toronto FC for a 2-1 win.

"Everyone was jumping on me, and it was just so cool," Davis said. "I'm not going to lie, I really enjoyed the moment."

The winning goal not only gave Davis instant credibility with the Crew Reserve, but also validated the success of the Academy, according to Crew Soccer Academy assistant coach Billy Thompson.

"He established respect from the Reserve team by contributing immediately," said Thompson, a former Crew player who also serves as the Crew Junior Director of Coaching. "He's quiet, humble and can score goals, which will earn him more opportunities. We're thrilled for him because what he has been able to do is validate our entire youth system."

Davis proved his first goal for the Crew Reserve was no fluke when he was summoned for a game against the New York Red Bulls on May 30 at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

The Crew Reserve led 3-1 at halftime and extended its lead to 4-1 in the 59th minute. Davis entered in the 68th minute and scored twice in the following 17 minutes, as the Crew Reserve went on to win 6-1.

"I was more relaxed for that game," Davis said. "On the first goal, Andy Adlard played a through ball and I outran the defender and was one-on-one with the keeper. On the second one, Kevin Burns played a ball over the top and I took it, went out to the right side of the box and scored, although it caught some post."

Davis will play for the University of Cincinnati in the fall, after the U-17/18 Academy team completes its postseason, which begins Thursday, June 23, in Dallas. The Bearcats' first game is Aug. 15.

"I'm just excited by it all," said Davis, who is joined on the Academy team by Gahanna products Gavin Craig, Ben Crognale, Andrew McClurg, Jacob Rice, Wil Trapp and Tyler Woolum.

"When I first started practicing with the Reserves, it was nerve-wracking and I didn't say much to those guys, except tell them my name. I knew I had to go full-bore, 110 percent in every practice. Now I've gotten to know those guys and they're nice guys. We practice against the Crew, so it's just been an overwhelming feeling.

"It definitely has prepared me for college. I know college will be a more physical brand of play than high school, but the Academy and my experience with the Reserves have prepared me for that."

Thompson is proud of Davis' efforts with the Academy and the Crew Reserve and thinks his player has all the skills needed to continue to climb the ladder of success.

"He's a very special player who has a dynamic ability as a forward to create scoring opportunities for himself and others," Thompson said. "He's got great one-on-one ability to beat a defender. He uses his speed and a great technical ability, plus his attitude is just as important. He is determined to beat a defender and get a goal and has the attitude and skill to do it."