Boys soccer thrives through long pandemic season


Courtesy of Matt Ravenscraft

Alexia Green

As the season comes to an end, boys soccer players find themselves reflecting with pride on their team dynamic after a year when two seasons had collided. 

Last school year, the soccer team was told they would not play in the fall, after  Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker set restrictions on youth sports in Illinois in July 2020. This affected sports such as boys soccer and girls field hockey. The news devastated many seniors because they believed their last season participating in sports with high school was over. 

A few weeks after this notice was sent out and sports stopped, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced sports played in the fall would be moved to spring. Hope was finally found for the students that didn’t get their season. 

Between these adjustments and the summer program, the boys soccer teams have been playing pretty much nonstop since March of this year.

Many other sports were affected by their seasons being cancelled. In November, Winter sports started and ran sports such as gymnastics, basketball, swimming and bowling. This kept promise to those athletes hoping to have their season in the following months. 

Matthew Ravenscraft, the head coach of boys soccer, feels his players have stayed involved and motivated at school because of soccer and is very grateful they were able to play at the end of the school year and bring his hard working and deserving players back to their friends and more importantly, their sport. 

The players did not necessarily lose out this past year. The players played in the spring and throughout the summer. Some boys also participated in club soccer to keep up with their skills. This fall season they went back to their normal season and played until a few weeks ago. The teams this season made an effort to be stronger and more bonded after losing out this past year. The teams also participate in program practices where all five teams come together and practice as one organization.

“I came from a pretty small school so you know getting to do summer soccer and get to know people was good” in an interview with varsity sophomore player Ian Vichnick. 

Vichnick was relieved when hearing about the spring season. He finally got to have the opportunity and experience a normal soccer season was supposed to be. 

“I think it [soccer] was something to look forward to last school year. It was a reason to stay focused and engaged in school because there was the hope that we would get a soccer season.” Ravenscraft said. 

Vichnick went on to practice throughout the whole summer in their annual summer program and eventually made varsity soccer as a sophomore. 

“I can go through playing soccer with club with my high school, and then get to summer and then have all these other opportunities in front of me,” said Vichnick 

The change in seasons really didn’t affect many of the players because of club soccer and the contact days they were given. 

“I got to play soccer. I was happy.” Stated sophomore boys soccer player Max Steen after finding out he was playing soccer in the spring. “I was playing soccer, around like even in the winter, even in the summer. all year round, I’d be playing soccer, incrementally.” 

He played for a club team, allowing his ability to play soccer stay at a stable level. This was the same for many of the players. The club teams helped keep them fit and up to standard skill level. In the end players evidently got better and were more successful when they were left to their own devices.

As vaccinations started to become more common, cases went down and numbers were finally stable. New Trier had tryouts and sign ups for their spring sports. Sports like boys soccer, girls field hockey and football were also having tryouts finally. 

Ravenscraft said  he was relieved that his players didn’t have to wear masks for their annual summer program. “The summer was great because we moved to no restrictions, we haven’t had to wear masks since June.”