The center back chose RMU over Millersville and Shippensburg

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Marcos Garcia is finally off the roller coaster.

While the New Oxford senior described his recruitment as an up-and-down experience, he now knows where he'll be playing soccer the next four years. Garcia will remain a Colonial after officially signing with Robert Morris on Thursday afternoon.

Robert Morris competes in the Northeast Conference (NEC) of Division I. While Garcia said he always dreamed of playing Division I soccer, it was not a goal he initially thought was attainable.

"I was shocked, it was just exhilarating," Garcia said of receiving the offer. "I knew I was getting interest from (Robert Morris), but in reality, I didn't think I would end up at a Division I school."

Garcia was recruited mostly by Division II schools, including Millersville, Shippensburg and California University of Pennsylvania. The center back said he expected to end up at Millersville, but that he remained interested in Robert Morris after meeting head coach Bill Denniston at a club tournament in Maryland last year.

His interest in the Colonials grew when he was invited up for an official visit on Jan. 18. Still, Garcia said he was shocked when Denniston called him on his way home to tell him he had an offer.

"I was just at a loss for words," Garcia said. "I was actually grabbing a quick lunch with my parents when he called. They were so proud, my mom was tearing up and they both kept hugging me."

As thrilled as Garcia was to get the offer, his final decision was not an easy one. He only had a week to give Denniston an answer, and he was torn between Robert Morris and Millersville.

Ultimately, the opportunity to play Division I soccer was too much for Garcia to pass up. He verbally committed to Robert Morris on Jan. 26 before officially inking the deal on Thursday.

"My mind had been set with Millersville, so I was a little torn," Garcia said. "But once I got the offer from RMU, I knew I couldn't say no. Getting that offer proved everything I worked for had paid off."

Despite playing defense, Garcia scored a combined 10 goals and 13 assists the past two seasons. New Oxford head coach Andrew Dellinger called him "the type of talent who comes around once every 10 years or so."

"His stats might not jump out at you on paper, but the impact he had in every game is what I’m going to miss most," Dellinger said. "Robert Morris is getting not only a great soccer player, but a great leader and all-around great person."

Another benefit of going to Robert Morris is Garcia will have the opportunity to compete for playing time right away. The Colonials are graduating two defenders from this past year's team, and Garcia said Denniston told him he'll have a shot to get on the field next season.

Garcia is considering majoring in business administration, and said he likes what he's heard about RMU's business school. Although he's lived in a rural area his entire life, the New Oxford native is looking forward to "the new exposure" of going to school outside of Pittsburgh.

Right now, Garcia is planning on leaving for Robert Morris at the end of August. The oldest child in his family, Garcia is anxious to leave home but still excited to start his college career.

"In the middle of the recruiting process, I was anxious about graduation," Garcia said. "Now that I have the offer, it's like a weight off my shoulders. I'm very excited."

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