For The Tribune

As Justin Bottorff improved his soccer skills at Seymour, he said he thought that improved his chance to play soccer at the next level.

His dream became a reality Wednesday afternoon when he signed the paperwork to play college soccer at Anderson University.

With several of his Seymour soccer teammates in attendance, Bottorff said this has been a dream of his for a long time.

Bottorff said he isn’t sure what position he will play for the Ravens, but Seymour coach Matt Dennis said he believes he can definitely help Anderson on the offensive end.

“He’s a skilled one-versus-one attacker,” Dennis said. “He is able to play in isolation. He has good foot skill and pretty good speed on the outside, and if he can find a way to translate that into the college game, which is a little faster, which I think he’ll be able to do, he’ll be able to contribute quite a bit.”

Bottorff was an outside wing for the Owls last fall. He was named the team’s most valuable player last fall and earned Hoosier Hills all-conference honors.

The senior started varsity for the Owls his sophomore year, then missed his junior year while recovering from knee surgery.

He said he enjoyed his Owl teammates.

“It’s a great group of guys,” Bottorff said. “It’s like a family here. We all pull for each other. It’s really committed, and I like that.”

Bottorff, who is right-footed, said he was willing to play whichever side the Owls the most.

“If it felt like I was having a good day shooting I would go on the left side so I could cut in,” Bottorff said. “If I didn’t feel quite confident with it I would stay on the right side so I could cross. I have pretty good moves.”

He said he began playing soccer when he was 3½ years old.

“I did karate when I was little, and one of my friends that did karate with me was playing soccer, and they needed a person to play, and I jumped in there and I ended up scoring a pretty significant amount of goals, and my dad saw that and thought, ‘We should get this kid in this sport,’” he said.

For travel ball, Bottorff played for the Seymour Cyclones as well as club teams in Columbus and Carmel.

“It helped me a lot playing club soccer,” Bottorff said. “I got to play throughout the year. It made me a lot stronger in a lot of areas.

“I like cooler weather. I’ve always played better in cooler weather. I had a lot of memories playing at Freeman Field. It is a great atmosphere out there.”

Dennis said Bottorff will have to adjust to the speed of college soccer.

“It will be faster,” Dennis said. “There will be a transition period that he’ll have to go through and get used to it. The speed of the game is faster, the thinking of the game is faster, and if he can adjust to that then he’ll do well.”

Bottorff topped the Owls and the HHC in goals last fall with 18, while adding 14 assists.

Dennis said Bottorff’s foot skills are one of his strongest points.

“He has good foot skill and one vs. one,” Dennis siad. “That made him able to take people on and to get in behind backs and really attack the goal. He’s got a nose of doing that from the outside, and collecting the ball with his feet, and when it doesn’t seem like there is a pass available to be able to beat a guy on the dribble. That’s his best attribute in my mind.”

Scott Fridley is head coach of the Anderson men’s soccer team. The Ravens had a record of 10-9-1 last fall.

One of Bottorff’s former teammates, Fernando Cervantes, will play soccer this fall at Marian College. Cervantes will be a sophomore at Marian, but this will be his first season playing soccer.

Dave Urbanski, assistant athletics director at Seymour, said Bottorff becomes the 49th SHS student to be actively playing college athletics.