Matthew Pyle said there wasn’t any one thing he would rather doing after school during the fall than preparing for his next Seymour soccer match.
“I enjoyed the team aspect of it, the social part of it,” he said. “You’ve got to know how to play with other people. I think soccer is one of the best sports for that. There are a lot of players (11 on each team) on the field at one time.
“You’ve got to communicate. Communication is a key because if one person disagrees with another person it can just all break down at once and you can’t have that.”
The senior began playing soccer at 4 years old.
This past fall, Griffin Sciarra, Kyle Jones and Brantley Adams were the team captains, and Pyle said they provided good leadership.
“Griffin played center back and is our best talker,” he said. “The other two were good role models in the center of the field.”
Pyle was a three-year varsity starter for the Owls.
“My sophomore year it was all center back,” he said. “My junior year it was more spread around. I played a lot right back, where I played this year, and I played some right mid and forward.”
During games, Pyle always tried to get involved in plays.
“At right back you’re still very involved in the offensive attack, but you’re more trusted on defense, too, and you pick your times to go forward,” he said. “This year, when we had the ball, I would go up whether it was for a distraction or if I was actually to get the ball. Sometimes it turned out to be a goal in that possession.
“It’s a position where you’ve got to hustle and get back if you lose possession of the ball.”
Pyle said he thinks the length of a high school soccer match — two 40-minute halves — is plenty long, and you have to be physically and mentally ready to play.
“Most of it is mental,” he said. “You’ve got to keep your mind into it. Just tell yourself to keep going and ‘I don’t need a sub or anything.’ You know it’s going to end eventually.
“The first five minutes is definitely a key point in a game in either half. Coach (Matt) Dennis said however you start the game is how the rest of the game is going to go, and really sets the tone for the rest of the game.”
From the starting whistle, the Owls always looked to tally a goal first on the scoreboard.
“It’s very important because you don’t want to be coming from behind in a game, and it’s just a lot easier to have that leverage with a goal, it’s a lot more comfortable,” Pyle said.
“You’ve got to know your role, and what position you’re playing. You’ve got to respect the other persons’ role too, and know how to play with them at the same time. You’ve got to believe in your ability and tell yourself to stick with it. Don’t be a quitter. Give it all you’ve got.”
This year’s group of seniors were tight-knit.
“A lot of us (seniors) have been there since the first year, and we all played on a Cyclones team before,” Pyle said. “We lost a few seniors along the way, but a few of them stuck around and I think we provided good leadership for the freshmen and those players.”
The Owls advanced all the way to the sectional championship in 2015.
“I’m very excited (about the future),” Pyle said. “I’m going to try to catch a lot of the games next year. I think good things are about to happen to that soccer team.”
Parents: Rhonda and John Pyle
Siblings: Adam, Nathan
Sports: Soccer, four years
Plans after high school: Attend college, study architectural engineering
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite TV show: “The Walking Dead”
Favorite movie: “Billy Madison”
Favorite team: Lionel Messi
Q: Were home games special your senior year?
A:”This was definitely one of my favorite years. I feel like the crowd really brought us a lot of energy. We had the biggest crowds this year. The Columbus East game was a very nice experience with a lot of our students coming out there. It was a good atmosphere.”
Q: What’s it like playing on club teams outside of season?
A: “My Cyclones team stuck together for a long time with (coach) Greg Jones. He kept us together and just about that whole team played their freshman year in high school. We had good chemistry. Going to my Columbus (Express) team we had Kyle Jones, Mason Pottschmidt, Griffin Sciarra and myself that all played at the team. That team was very successful. We finished first in the league.”
Q: Have you enjoyed your time at Seymour High School?
A: “This school really pushes you like an athletic team would. It’s a tough grading scale and try your hardest. The same thing with sports. It’s been a good experience. I took two AP classes last year and two this year. I’ve never had a problem with a teacher here. I’ve enjoyed them.