Tree of Life Christian School senior David Burton has been able to juggle academics and athletics to earn national, regional and local recognition.
Burton finished his boys soccer career with the Trojans tied for third with Patrick Crawford (2007 graduate) for most goals in program history with 66. Mike Mayo (2006) leads with 76 and Greg Rossman (1989) had 67.
Burton was a midfielder, while Mayo, Rossman and Crawford were forwards.
Burton also excels in the classroom, where he has a 4.12 GPA.
"Sometimes it's tough," he said of his schedule. "I get stuff done, though. You go from practice to home and work and then back to school every day. It's not too bad."
Burton's efforts during his senior season helped him earn All-American and All-East Region scholar recognition from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, which also named him to its All-Region IV team.
"It felt pretty good to get Tree of Life out there on the national spotlight," said Burton, who lives in the Northland area.
Athletics director Yohana Hill said Tree of Life plans to recognize Burton's national achievements during a school awards ceremony in May. The school also is working on a way to recognize his "career accomplishments long term," according to Hill.
"This says a ton about what he does on the soccer field, but also what a well-rounded kid he is and how hard he works in school and everything he's involved in," said coach Bryan Troast, who has led the soccer program for three seasons.
Last season, the Trojans finished 11-7-2 overall after losing to Worthington Christian 4-0 in a Division III district final. It was the first district title game appearance for Tree of Life.
Worthington Christian, the 2011 state champion, reached a state semifinal before losing to eventual state champion Cincinnati Summit Country Day 3-0.
Tree of Life went 4-0-1 in the MOCAL to earn its third consecutive league title.
Burton finished the season with 24 goals and 15 assists. He was named Player of the Year in the league and district, and also was first-team all-state.
As a junior, Burton was Player of the Year in the league and first-team all-district and all-state. As a sophomore, he was Player of the Year in the league, first-team all-district and second-team all-state.
"I'm just thankful I had a chance to play," he said. "It was a really good experience (through) all of high school."
Burton also served as a team captain the past three seasons.
"He was the best player on the team as a sophomore and I made him a captain as a sophomore," Troast said. "It was easy to see within the first practice that he was a special kid."
Burton has participated in the Columbus Crew Youth Development program for four years and currently is a member of the pre-academy U18 team.
He plans to pursue a college degree in engineering and is considering attending Ohio State or the University of Cincinnati. He also is considering whether to try to join a college soccer program as a walk-on or play at the club level.
Troast said Burton has been a role model for his teammates at Tree of Life.
"He's a great example to the program," Troast said. "I used him while I still had him (as an example) of how he's worked really hard to get here, and he'll be known for a long time at Tree of Life as one of the best players to ever play there and will hopefully help keep the soccer tradition strong."