By Kyle Daubs
It has seemed like an eternity since Peyton Gill last played soccer regularly.
The 2020 Mattoon High School grad missed her senior year due to the cancellation of spring sports. After joining the Eastern Illinois University women’s soccer team, her fall season was moved to the spring due to protocols.
Then, after playing just 21 minutes against Belmont, Gill sustained an injury that forced her to redshirt her freshman year.
“COVID affected me on and off the field,” said Gill. “Not being able to travel with my team on away games was challenging because I felt left out, but I felt like I was not there for my teammates. Off-field, it was stressful with school, and learning online was not very helpful for me. The one good thing COVID did was give me an extra year to play.”
Finally, Gill is healthy and ready to enjoy a full soccer season.
“I am so excited to be a part of this team, and I can’t wait for what falls brings us,” said Gill. “Once I got hurt last year, my contribution was still there, supporting my team during practice and most of the games. I was unable to travel with my team for most of the games due to COVID and my injury. This year I’m hoping to be healthy to play and to push my teammates to do their best and encourage them.”
The EIU team played a shortened season last year and finished 2-7-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference. With that said, three of the team’s losses were by as much as one goal. The team will have a loaded schedule this year with some tough competition like Illinois and Wisconsin on the schedule.
“I am most excited to be back with my teammates and finally meet the new ones,” said Gill. “I’m also happy to play some Big Ten schools in the preseason. I cannot wait to be able to play in some soccer games finally. I realized how much I missed playing soccer.”
Gill was the former career assists record holder at Mattoon, which was accumulated between her freshman and junior years. She was also an Honorable-Mention All-Sectional recipient from the IHSSCA.