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South's Bever inks with Dakota Wesleyan

May 31—CHEYENNE — Cheyenne South senior Kanon Bever's eyes were opened to playing soccer at the next level when he was forced to spend most of his time alone due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the eighth grade.

During that time, he had the idea of going to camps and college tryouts once he was able to. Even though it was intense, it made him fall in love with the game of soccer that much more.

Bever signed with Dakota Wesleyan — a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school in Mitchell, South Dakota — on Thursday inside the South Auditorium.

"It's a moment that I never thought I would have," Bever said. "It's something I'm definitely going to cherish forever, because it's something that doesn't happen a lot.

"My grandma supported me from the very second I started kicking a soccer ball and helped me advance."

Next College Student Athlete, a national recruiting company that helps student-athletes compete at the next level, played a major role in helping Bever get his name out to schools. He also relied on some of his time spent on club teams like Club 307 to help get his name out there.

Eventually, he got in contact with Dakota Wesleyan coach Nicolas Reinhard. While he was interested in a soccer academy in Barcelona, his conversations with Reinhard ended up sealing his decision.

"The second I talked to him, he talked to me constantly," Bever said. "I saw that he was a great coach. One of the first conversations we had was in November, and we had a call where he talked about how he was interested in me because I was a good defender."

While his conversations with Reinhard ended up being what led to his signing, it was on his first trip to the university that his decision was made that much easier. The players on the team helped make Bever feel right at home.

"When I went there, to be able to talk to him personally, one of the first things he did was text his players so they could come and introduce themselves," Bever said. "A lot of them introduced themselves, and they were chill and relaxed."

During his time at South, Bever helped anchor the back end for South's defensive unit, and was a captain during his final year in a Bison uniform.

"Kanon (will bring) tactical skill, leadership and communication ability to his new team," South coach Joshua Eastman said. "He is a unique, composed player that has tenacity for closing space, shutting down opponents and making great transitional offensive attacking decisions.

"I expect him to experience the success he has created for the Bison."

That time spent on the Bison is something Bever won't ever forget. One of the biggest things he'll remember about playing for South was the lack of quit that everyone on the team showed, no matter what the score or situation was.

Entering his first year at the college level, Bever will reunite with a familiar face. Former South standout Will Bechtel, who signed with Dakota Wesleyan last spring, will join Bever when the season kicks off next year.

"It was a huge coincidence, but I'm still really excited to play with him," Bever said with a laugh.

Bever plans to study business administration.

Matt Atencio covers Laramie County prep sports for WyoSports. He can be reached at matencio@wyosports.net. Follow him on X at @MattAtencio5.