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Booth has big goal for this season in the goal

August 11, 2003|JILL ERWIN

Matt Booth has gotten bigger since last season, and now he's ready to take on a bigger role.

Booth split time in Danville's goal last season with Miguel Magana, but Magana will most likely be playing in the field this season. That leaves the goal to Booth, a position in which the directions given to teammates are almost as important as the skills between the pipes.

"It's like I have a job to fill," Booth said. "Team members look to me to do my job because they do their job in the field. I just need to do my job in the goal. I like to take charge on the field."

Danville coach Gary Reynolds said Booth will be a fine leader, and will have to take on that role this year. However, Reynolds also admitted that he tested Booth last year by giving him so much experience.

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"He is a junior and I'm going to expect him to take a leadership role as far as being in control in back," Reynolds said. "I think Matt is quite capable of doing that.

"I think last year we threw him into the lion's den, so to speak. He didn't know what to expect and he didn't really take control like we wanted him to do. But I think he will this year and I think he'll be one of the best in this area.

He is noticeably taller

Booth is noticeably taller than he was last season, but said he doesn't know exactly how much he's grown. He does know that his added size and strength will pay dividends during this season.

"I've got a little meat on me, but I'm still fast in goal," Booth said. "I'm glad I'm getting bigger because last year when I was a little smaller than I am now, some balls I couldn't get to, and I think I'll be able to get to them this year."

Reynolds said Booth's added size will pay off with added confidence.

"I think he'll have more confidence when he comes out for flighted balls or one on one breakaways and that type of thing," Reynolds said. "He'll have more confidence because he is bigger and stronger."

Booth spent a week this summer at the Keeper Edge Soccer Camp at Centre College, working on his skills. Booth said the camp offered him the opportunity to learn from the experienced keepers working the camp and to work with others his own age.

"It helps me get in shape, and it helps me build my confidence up," Booth said. "We work on collapse dives and power dives and it helps me start the season off and get off to a good start. I know I've gotten a lot better in the few years I've been playing goal."

Wrestling skills help him

Booth is also a member of Danville's wrestling team and said that some of the skills he uses on the mat - staying low, preparing for your opponent's next move - help him in the goal.

Booth said he thinks Danville will be a strong team this season. While he said the team does have its weaknesses, including a young lineup, he said the Admirals will be just fine.

"We have a whole bunch of young people, but everyone's stepping up," Booth said. "We have some strong people in the back and our offense should be pretty good.

"We'll find out when the first game comes around. I'm just going to try to get as prepared as I can and get in as good a shape as I can."

The Ads have just three seniors - Miles Garriot, Alex Gash and Adam Hoover - and will have several sophomores and juniors on the field. But Reynolds said he has confidence in Booth to hold things together from the goal.

"Last year as a sophomore, we just pulled him up and asked him to step up and play and he did," Reynolds said. "He showed me last year that he is going to be a heck of a goalkeeper and I've got all the confidence in the world in him."

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