In late January, when Monticello activity director Daniel Sheehan and soccer coach Cullen Welter heard that St. Thomas More would no longer field a team, they had to mix and match to fill the open space on schedule.
Sheehan called schools to replace STM but unfortunately couldn't find an opponent in Illinois.
"In my opinion this was due to some of the successes we've had lately," Sheehan said. "We reached out to schools and we had schools that said they weren't interested or wanted to keep their options open. So I immediately met with coach Welter and (assistant Mike) Allen."
Sheehan and the trainers shared documents and made a table of potential schools to add to the schedule. They posted a call to fill the game on September 11th for teams in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. They even looked into the possibility of playing a team from Missouri or Arkansas.
"We had a regular routine where we'd try to sweep weekly to see if there were other teams with an open schedule," Sheehan said. “The ones we looked forward to most shortly before COVID-19, and it all happened. We understood that we would be playing in Door County, Wisconsin. That was exciting because it was up there by Green Bay and we thought we & # 39; I would take a trip and take a tour of the Green Bay Faculty. "
Sheehan and the coaches envisioned the trip as a once in a lifetime opportunity to bond as a team.
"But when we came back from Covid-19 and tried to reconfirm everything, they had the wrong date," Sheehan said. “Different states have different weeks and they were looking for a second week (game) and we needed the third week. Not all states have the same calendar. "
As soon as that failed, it went back to the drawing board. The key for Sheehan and the coaches was adding one more game to the schedule.
"At the end of the day we want a game for our kids," Sheehan said. "We don't want to take a game away from our student athletes."
Then Sheehan received an email from a school in Osceola, Indiana interested in Playing the Wise Men.
So Sheehan investigated the Osceola Grace Eagles to make sure the team matched what Monticello was looking for in a competitive game, school size, and adequate facilities.
"The first email said they had to have a home game," Sheehan said. "The coaching staff wanted to come up there and have their skills analyzed but luckily I was able to persuade them to come to Monticello for a home game."
The Wise Men and Eagles are now under contract to play against each other on September 11th.
The Eagles asked for a later start time, so kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
"I take it to mean that this is a homeschool association," said Sheehan. "So it's made up of undergraduate athletes who are home-schooled in Michigan and Indiana. And the IHSA bylaws allow an opponent out of state who must either be approved by the Indiana School Association or to play Indiana High School- Teams must be approved. So there is no Indiana State Association member and they are not participating in any postseason in Indiana. I think they are playing in a national home school national soccer playoff scenario. "
The coaches have already searched game material and collected data from MaxPreps about the Eagles.
Monticello is expected to start its season with a home game on August 28th at 7pm. against Olympia / Delavan.