BUSC’s Dane Baker commits to United States Air Force Academy!

There are high school athletes that use their physical gifts as a way to get into college, and once there, academics can take a backseatt to playing their sport and having a good time experiencing college.

Then there are those athletes good enough to play at the next level but are also driven to be successful and excel in both the classroom, as well as on the field of play.

Dane Baker is one such person.

Baker, who lives in Danville and plays for the Under-19 MLS NEXT team for the Ballistic United Soccer Club, has shown on the field his ability to play at the next level.

Off the field, Baker has shown he has the character and drive to attend the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the fall.

“I was so impressed,” said Baker of when he visited the Academy. “The academic rigor, being part of something that is bigger than yourself, the chance to serve your country.”

Ballistic United MLS NEXT Director of Coaching Jerry Losson said the pairing for Baker is a great match.

“Dane is a perfect fit for the Air Force Academy,” said Losson. “He is a lean, mean, fighting machine with a great work ethic. He is committed to getting better, a great teammate, and very coachable.”

BUSC Board member Mike Nieto, who oversees the MLS NEXT program, sees great things for Baker.

“He is an awesome kid,” said Nieto. “He comes from a very disciplined family. He is the perfect cadet.”

Baker will spend the first 10 months at the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School, a usual occurrence for many students once they get to the Academy.

“I will get a great foundation at the prep school,” said Baker.

It wasn’t a random choice that Baker ended up at the Academy, but it wasn’t his initial choice either.

“I was committed to Babson College,” Baker explained of the private business college located just outside of Boston. “I hadn’t thought much about Air Force until I went to an MLS NEXT Showcase and played well. Their coach reached out to me and that was it.”

Baker has ties to the Academy as his older brother Christopher, graduated from the Academy and now 32 years old, is serving in special forces for the United States.

Baker understands the commitment because of his brother, and that helps ease what can be daunting task. Following the 10-month period at the prep school, he has four years of college, followed by a 5-year, Air Force commitment.

He will either opt to continue his business curriculum or become a pilot.

“Flying is very interesting,” said Baker. “I’ve got the first two years to decide.”

Dennis Miller