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Morris soccer team finishes busy summer

A trip to Eastern Illinois University highlighted the Morris Redskins’ soccer team’s summer season in the past couple of months.

“We went to a soccer camp at Eastern Illinois University and were there for four days,” Morris senior captain Matt Thayer said.

It was four days in which the Redskins got a workout without the aid of head coach David Valdivia — though he was there as a keen observer. 

“When we went to Eastern’s camp, we had a lot of practice games over there,” Valdivia said. “I couldn’t coach them there, but I could watch them. They had their own coach from Xavier (University.”

The high school camp was from July 7-11, and Thayer said the team took many good things away from the event.

“It was team bonding along with evolving as a team,” he said.

“We have a lot of dribblers and big kickers but we need more passing. That camp really improved that.”

The EIU Camp is run by Adam Howarth, the head coach of the Panthers for the last 12 seasons.

The camp days typically opened with breakfast t 7:30 a.m., included tactical training and specialized training for keepers, featured 3-on-3 and 7-on-7 match ups, lectures and videos and then two team matches in the afternoon, culminating with All-Star matches under the lights at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.

Each team was guaranteed eight matches in the days they attended.

Like other high school sports, that all fell into the allotment of days the team could spend together according to the IHSA. That then concluded on Saturday with the alumni game, which was the final contact day for the Redskins.

“We can actually play games with other schools as long as it’s part of the team’s 25 days,” Valdivia said.

Between Monday and Aug. 14, all high schools in Illinois are prevented from having any contact with their players or team in a practice setting before the season officially starts. According to Thayer, however, he says the Morris guys likely aren’t going to be sitting around over that time.

“Even during this no-contact period, we’ll get the team together and have a little game or whatever,” he said.

The Morris soccer team opens the season on Aug. 26 at the Earlville War on 34 Tournament.

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