MHS Soccer

Senior defender Conner Nielson practing passing Oct. 7 at Donaldson Westside Park to help prepare for their game agaist Benton. Nielson plans to continue his education and attend Full Sail University located in Winter Park, Florida, and major in game development.

As Maryville soccer took the pitch Oct. 3 against Bishop LeBlond, that night’s game was the most significant game they team has had this season. It was Senior Night, an evening that shed light onto the seniors that have been dedicated to the program and determined to leave a mark on the school. The five seniors include Jaden Hayes, Jaxon Pettlon, Wade Wallace, Wesly Wallace and Connor Nielson.

With the seniors’ parents lining up to walk them out on the field, spectators saw that the team practices what they preach: family. For many of the players, coach Dale Reuter was their youth coach, high school coach and mentor. This is the connection that is rarely seen, but when developed, has an impact on all of those involved.

“It's always sentimental. I’m a sentimental person,” Reuter said. “To have that feeling, you have to have that love. If you don't have that, then life just really isn't spicy. Every day is your last when it comes to Maryville High School. It may be the last time you play on the field or put on a uniform. It’s always a sad day.”

While the anticipation of Senior Night can bring out a variety of emotions for both the players and coaches, the parents are the biggest part of the night as they walk their players out on the field one last time. This is a time that brings out excitement and raw emotions as both the parents and players realize that their high school career is nearing an end.

“It was definitely awesome,” senior midfielder Jaden Hayes said. “Me and my parents are really close, and it’s nice for them to be able to walk me down. I'm the youngest of five kids, so I’m sure it’s pretty sad for then too.”

Though Hayes is the only one of the five seniors that plans to play collegiately, all of them have been revered as the faces of the soccer program and the many achievements that have come out of the Maryville community.

As many of the seniors have played soccer since they were young, throughout the years they've grown and matured, all while adding certain aspects to their lives that make them well rounded, standout members of the community, Reuter said.

“They're all ambassadors for the program,” Reuter said. “My hope for them and my prayer for them as we move forward is for them to be good leaders — to be great leaders actually. I want to see those five seniors be those leaders and watch them grow. That's what I want to see their legacy. That’s my hope; I want to see them be those great leaders.”

Looking back on the 4-3 record the ’Hounds have right now, and the five games coming up within the next two weeks, the seniors have to start preparing for their next sport and eventually graduation. Many of the seniors plan to attend college in a variety of locations and focus on their future goals.

Though they will inevitably move on from Maryville High School, many aspects of their lives like soccer knowledge, leadership skills and how to be a good and caring person, can all be traced back to the man that coached them in youth soccer.

“Especially having Dale as a coach, he's kind of a role model for me,” Hayes said. “He has definitely built me as a player. Dale has been a big part of this journey, and I couldn't ask for a better coach.”

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