Glendale Star File Photo

Josh Heinz, right, is an incoming senior at Mountain Ridge and was invited to the EXOS Select 50 instructional showcase on August 3, a day-long camp tailored to playing in front of college coaches and scouts.

Josh Heinz’s chase for an athletic scholarship has gained significant momentum, this after the Mountain Ridge High School senior was invited to participate at the EXOS Select 50 instructional showcase in Phoenix on August 3.

The camp features 50 of the “top tier soccer players in the west region,” per an EXOS press release, comprised of “future college talent, all-state and all-district athletes from Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.”

EXOS is an organization geared toward sports performance, training and wellness.

Heinz was reportedly chosen by EXOS because of his accomplishments as a member of Mountain Ridge’s varsity soccer program. Last winter, the defenseman appeared in 18 of the Mountain Lions’ 19 games, averaging 71 minutes per game.

He was named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year and also netted All-District Team honors.

A chunk of the seven-hour showcase saw the invitees performing agility tests such as 40-yard dashes, shuttle runs and broad jumps. The afternoon concluded with practices and drills at Paradise Valley Community College.

Heinz deemed the invitation by EXOS special for multiple reasons, but chief among them was the opportunity to spend a day playing in front of scouts and college coaches, plus current and former professional players.

“It was really cool,” he said. “I’ve put in a lot of work to becoming a soccer player. I’ve played many, many years, and it’s pretty cool to be recognized.”

Heinz had several one-on-one conversations with coaches, all offering advice on how he can elevate his game to become an even more attractive college prospect.

“There were a couple times where I’d lose the ball and not rush to get it back, so they told me to keep going. It’s easier to get the ball right after you lose it than a couple seconds later because they’re on a breakaway or something.”

Among the representatives in attendance, Heinz chatted with a Paradise Valley coach as well as an assistant from Grand Canyon University. Where he’ll further his soccer career after high school remains to be seen, but Heinz left the showcase feeling encouraged, optimistic that a university will ultimately benefit from his services.

“It gave me a lot more confidence. Being one of the 50 in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona region is really cool.”