(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
Greenville is located 45 minutes east of St. Louis in Illinois and the Panthers are a member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) in NCAA Division III.
Gardner had an outstanding season for the Bulldogs at his forward position. Playing alongside Blake Taylor, Sikeston won their second straight district title over Notre Dame and finished with a 13-11 record after losing to Trinity of St. Louis 4-1 in first round of the playoffs.
"The last two years in soccer have been the most amazing thing ever," said Gardner. "We came out of nowhere and won two straight district titles over a very good Notre Dame program. It was just an amazing feeling to win those two trophies. I will never forget that feeling. I am definitely going to miss my teammates and my friends at Sikeston."
Gardner was a key contributor for the Bulldogs as he was second on the team in total points. On the season, Gardner had nine goals and 11 assists.
Gardner had 61 shots for the year off his powerful left foot and had two game-winning goals for Sikeston.
"Scott had a outstanding season for us," said Sikeston head soccer coach Derrick Long.
"I really believe he got overlooked for district honors this season because of the attention paid to Taylor. It was just a great year for Scott and he had some key shots for us throughout the year. Scott has a big left foot and that will take him far at the next level."
Although he played the forward position for the Bulldogs, Gardner expects to play mostly at the midfield position for Greenville.
"I am excited about getting going in college," said Gardner. "It is going to be a different level and I am a little nervous going in, but I have played some with my new teammates and been to their camp. I believe I will fit right in."
Gardner is heading to a program at Greenville that is a Division III power. Last season, the Panthers were 14-5-4 with a SLIAC record of 4-1-2.
The Panthers were ranked a high as No. 7 in the Central rankings for Division III. Greenville was ranked first in its division in goals against average and they advanced to the conference championship game.
Since 1960 when soccer was established at Greenville, the Panthers have an overall record of 337-336-64. Since 1988, Greenville has kicked it up a notch on the field with a combined record of 198-136-37.
"Soccer is everything at Greenville," said Gardner. "Everyone is into both boys and girls soccer. The guys on the team seem real nice and they are outstanding players."
Greenville will have a local flare on the team next season in addition to Gardner. Frankie Ellis, who was a scoring machine at Notre Dame, will join Gardner in Greenville.
"Frankie is a good guy and he is going to help out the team no doubt," said Gardner. "We have freshman camp running through August 8-12 so we are about to get started."
Gardner explained that besides Greenville being a competitive team, they will embark on a European tour next year.
"We will play some games overseas which I am really excited about," said Gardner. "We will play four pro teams over there and semi-pro teams as well. We will play in countries like Germany, France and England. It is going to be an exciting time and we will get a chance to play against some of the best soccer players in the world. I can't wait."