Athlete of the Month: Reece Clifford

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Athlete of the Month: Reece Clifford

Reece Clifford's senior year marks his tenth year playing soccer.

Reece Clifford's senior year marks his tenth year playing soccer.

Photo/ Mikayla Burns

Reece Clifford's senior year marks his tenth year playing soccer.

Photo/ Mikayla Burns

Photo/ Mikayla Burns

Reece Clifford's senior year marks his tenth year playing soccer.

Margaret Kraus, Sports Editor

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Margaret Kraus
Sports Editor

The Spartan Speak’s boys’ athlete of the month is soccer captain Reece Clifford. He was a captain of the team during the 2019 seas

Reece Clifford on the field at US Bank stadium.

on, and has been a starting player his since freshman year of high school. Clifford began his soccer career at the age of seven while he was still living in Britain.

One of his favorite memories from the 2019 season was the Timber Bay team cabin retreat at the beginning of the season. He also enjoyed making it to the state tournament and being able to finish his final season on the team at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Clifford was recently selected as a member of the Minnesota All-State boys’ soccer team. He was the only player from Orono that was chosen for this honor. Coaches from around the state nominate players that they feel stand out on the field as players and leaders, and the nominations are refined to a first and second team, with Clifford making the first team. “It’s really cool,” Clifford said.

As a captain this season, Clifford had many roles. Captains are the key mediators on the field during games and have to be the most vocal when the game is tense. “I have to be one of the vocal leaders on the field at all times on and off the field and keep the team calm when everyone starts panicking during games,” Clifford said. He also leads a warm-up with the other captains at the beginning of each practice before the coach-led warm-up begins.

To prepare himself for games, Clifford says he typically has a large bowl of fruit and drinks some water and then relaxes by playing FIFA for an hour. After games, if the team wins, the team goes to Buffalo Wild Wings, or hangs out in the locker room and listens to music together.

During the regular season, Clifford was one of the top scorers on the team with seven goals and six assists. During the section tournament, he had three assists. This helped the team become section champions and brought them to the state tournament.

After playing soccer for ten years, Clifford says he has learned many valuable lessons. “I’ve learned about having a we attitude versus an I attitude. Instead of I need to score, I need to win this game, it’s we need to score, we need to win this game,” Clifford said. Having a group-focused attitude has been something that Clifford has been able to use on and off the field and has made him a more effective captain.His advice for younger players is to value your time on the team and not to take things for granted.

“It goes by so quick. Cherish every moment,” Clifford said.

Outside of soccer, Clifford is also the secretary of the Unified Club, a member of the Letters of Love Club, and plays on the basketball team.

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