TV20 Meldon Law Scholar Athlete of the Week: James Proia (Gainesville)

Proia helped start an investment club at Gainesville High School
Canes defender keeps opponents off the board
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:48 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - From the time he could practically walk, Gainesville High School senior James Proia was playing soccer.

“I just kinda live in a soccer family,” said Proia. “Like two years old I was already in the kiddie soccer leagues.”

The captain of the Hurricanes soccer team is a center defensive mid. Essentially, it’s his job to keep the opposition from scoring and help set up the offense when the purple and white go on the attack.

“I’ve never really been great as good with my hands as I am with my feet and I just think that soccer is a perfect blend of every sport. It’s enough contact, running, team building, it’s enough of anything you want really.”

Through nine games this season, GHS has only surrendered 3 goals, as the Hurricanes boast a record of 7-0-2. Proia’s coach admits the senior is an integral part of the team’s success.

“He wants to get better everyday he comes out here,” said Gainesville Boys Soccer Coach Basil Benjamin. “He’s a competitor, and he’s a very good teammate. So all the other guys like him. I’m fortunate to being coaching a player like him to be honest.”

When it comes to academics, Proia also leads the way. He’s got a 3.98 g.p.a. and his favorite subject is economics.

“It’s pretty common sense I would say, with a lot of the things you’re learning. And that just really clicks in my mind, and I’m just able to remember it and link it together pretty well, in my opinion.”

Proia’s passion for economics runs so deep, he even started an investment club at school.

“It’s actually been about kind of understanding the stock market because a lot of the people in the club don’t have that much knowledge.”

While Proia’s still deciding which college he plans to attend, he’s hoping his final season on the pitch will leave a lasting legacy.

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