A tough decision leads to big accomplishments


Grace Gaul

“I’m going to do it, I am really going to do it.” Jr Gavin Hardy picked up his phone and called his club coach.“It was quite the tough decision but I think I am going to play high school soccer.”  After hours of consideration with his parents and coaches, Hardy finally decided to play for WO because “I didn’t want to miss out on the experience of playing for my school.”

   Even though playing for his club team would give him a better chance at getting noticed, and would open up many more opportunities when it comes to the big college decision he decided to not play for his club team for the fall season. 

  Despite the possible harm to recruiting for college,  Hardy chose to pursue the true high school experience and play with his friends. This decision may affect him in the future but he chose to focus on the season in front of him. “I obviously wanted to get better at the sport but I really wanted to play for my school and with my friends,” Hardy said. 

    The varsity team went 1-13-2. Despite not the greatest season, Hardy made some incredible accomplishments. As a defender, Hardy ended up scoring 4 out of the 12 goals all season. He had never scored so much in one season; he described the feeling of scoring as “exhilarating.”

   Playing a position that doesn’t always get the glory of scoring is not a challenge for Hardy, “I really enjoy playing defense, especially center back because you get to see the whole field and you can direct and help the other players.” Although the boys season did not go as they hoped, “I had a really good time playing with my teammates.”  

   Even though Hardy had to make a tough decision when it came to playing for WO, his choice earned him some impressive praise for his play, winning an all conference award at the end of the season. 

   Hardy could not have gotten to where he is now if he didn’t start his soccer career early in his life; he was only 3 years old when he played on his first soccer team. Since his first township soccer team Hardy has come a long way, he has played on many club teams including TNT, USA and Midwest United throughout elementary and middle school, and then played for the WO varsity team his sophomore and junior year while continuing to play for Midwest United. 

   Mens Varsity coach Hoa Nguyen said, “Gavin is a true player of the game in which he tries to improve all skill levels to be better.” 

   Hardy has put in a lot of work to get where he is, going to workouts and practicing the smaller skills like dribbling and shooting are just some examples of the ways he tries to better his game. “Special players are never satisfied and are looking for ways to improve, Gavin is that special player and will do well for us in the future,” Nguyen said.    

   Hardy’s skill and effort to become better also plays a role in his ability to play on such high levels “Gavin’s ability to handle the ball well with confidence allowing him to be the player with fewest turnovers on the team,” Nguyen said. Hardy does not regret making the decision to play for WO because his coach and his team made him a better player. 

   “Soccer has always been such a large part of my life ever since I can remember,” Hardy said. Travelling for countless weekends and many late night drives into Grand Rapids for practice never swayed Hardy to stop playing. If anything it motivated him to play better since he has to put so much of his time into soccer to stay at the level he must play at. 

 He didn’t choose to play WO soccer because it was closer than his club team; he made his decision based on other thoughts, “I decided to play for West Ottawa because I thought it was the best choice for me at the time,” Hardy said. Little did he know at the time that he would become a captain and win some impressive awards his junior year.

 His family has been affected by soccer as well, taking him to practice and taking time off of work to travel to go play against more difficult teams were all challenging at times for the Hardy family.“Travelling to games and practices has taught me to have good time management because I need to balance school work and soccer,” Hardy said.

   His ability to conquer both soccer and school has made him a better person overall, “I really think I do better in school when I am playing soccer, it helps clear my mind,” Hardy said. “He is a good person on and off the team representing the team well. No question why I have had him as captain in his Junior year.” Nguyen said. 

   Hardy’s decision may impact his future when it comes to the big college decision but his choice made him to become a better person on and off the field and allowed him to win an all conference award.  If he had to make the decision again about which team to play for he would still choose to play for WO since he developed such good friendships and grew as a player throughout the season “If I were to have to choose again I would pick WO because of how this season changed me.”