Gettysburg High School rising senior Trey Thomas has been playing soccer since he was 4 years old.

He developed a passion for the game after he joined the Gettysburg AYSO as youngster.

Thomas turned that passion into an opportunity to obtain an Ivy League college education by committing to Brown University on Monday.

He plans to major in architecture and play center back.

"It feels awesome," Thomas said. "It hasn't sunk in 100 percent. It is an amazing opportunity to play at that level and get that kind of education. I really connected with the coaching staff.

"It is in Providence, right near the city and I liked it. It is really diverse, and everyone was really nice. The soccer team is the big dogs on the campus. It is a soccer school, and I really liked that."

July 1 was the first day that coaches could talk to recruits, and Brown's head coach Patrick Laughlin didn't waste any time. It was on that Monday phone call that Thomas gave his verbal commitment to the Bears.

He will make it official on National Letter of Intent day in February.

It was an enjoyable process for Thomas, who also was recruited by NJIT, Lafayette, American, Lehigh and others. The decision ultimately came down to NJIT and Brown.

"My decision was a combination of their soccer team and academics," he said. "They were ranked in the top 25 in the nation last year, and they have made the NCAA tournament 25 times, including the last three years."

The Bears first identified Thomas when he was playing in Alabama as a member of the Region I Olympic Development Team. It was an opportunity that showed him he had what it takes to compete at the highest level.

"It was there that the coaches first saw me," Thomas said. "One of their assistant coaches emailed me and said they were very interested and told me they liked the way I played. He wanted to continue the relationship, and so I was on the phone with him a lot and had a good relationship. Eventually the head coach and I spoke, and we clicked pretty well."

Thomas is not the only one in his family who will be playing at the Division I level. His sister, Bre, is entering her sophomore year at Rhode Island where she is a member of the Rams basketball team.

"That played somewhat of a role in my decision," he said. "I get to see her play, and she could see me play. Now our parents can see us both play. Being close to her is pretty nice."

Now that the decision is behind him, Thomas can focus on his senior year.

"It is a huge weight off my chest so I can just focus on my senior year," he said. "Now I can just play and don't have to focus on impressing college coaches."

mrubin@eveningsun.com; @michaelrubin6; 717-451-3931