Kendell Howard began playing soccer at age 3.
Along the way he played other sports, including football, but his first love has always been the sport played on the pitch.
That passion for soccer and years of hard work, along with the support of his family led up to National Signing Day on Wednesday at Tyler High School.
Howard, an all-state center-back last season, signed a soccer scholarship with The University of Detroit Mercy during a ceremony at the Dr. Martin L. Edwards Jr. Theatre.
“I want to thank God first, followed by my family, friends, coaches and teammates,” said Howard, who was joined by multiple soccer teammates from over the year as well as family, friends and classmates on the stage. “I would not be here without their support. I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Howard committed to Detroit Mercy on Nov. 24 after considering South Carolina, Oakland (Michigan), Chicago State, Gardner-Webb, along with receiving interest from UCLA and Penn State.
“I love their style of play,” Howard said of the Titans’ program. “They play a physical game and that fits my style.”
Howard added their academic programs interested him.
He intends to enter UDM’s Pre-Medical Biochemistry program. When he graduates from Tyler High in the spring he will have already earned his EMS certification.
Howard is a three-year varsity starter for the Lions and has been captain the last two years. He was All-District 16-5A Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 and 2021 as well as Southeast All-America.
The Titans compete in NCAA Division I’s Horizon League, along with Cleveland State, Green Bay, Illinois-Chicago, IUPUI, Milwaukee, Northern Kentucky, Oakland, Purdue-Fort Wayne, Robert Morris and Wright State.
Detroit Mercy is a private, Catholic university in Detroit, Michigan and is sponsored by both the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the Religious Sisters of Mercy.
Founded in 1877, it is the largest Catholic university in Michigan. The school has an enrollment of more than 5,000.
Some of the noted alums include actor Keegan-Michael Key and basketball hall of famer Spencer Haywood. Also, Dick Vitale coached the Titans from 1973-77.