Wisconsin enticed Grant Stoneman as a potential college landing spot when he was in the middle of a high school soccer transfer year.
A St. Charles resident who began his prep career at Burlington Central before shifting to Wheaton Academy, Stoneman attended a winter and summer camp in Madison, Wis., during the 2011-12 school year.
He took a campus visit in February, liked what he saw, then returned at the beginning of June “just to confirm what I saw the first time, see if anything was new.”
When nothing budged with the Badgers, Stoneman knew everything he needed to make a verbal commitment Tuesday, selecting Wisconsin over a group of suitors that included Loyola Chicago, Illinois-Chicago, Butler and Michigan State.
“Definitely relieved,” Stoneman said. “The days leading up to my decision were definitely stressful, not knowing what to do, but I feel confident in my decision.”
Stoneman played with equal assuredness as a junior, earning Suburban Christian Conference player of the year honors after tallying 29 goals and 18 assists in 29 matches. The Warriors placed fourth in Class 2A with Stoneman as their center midfielder.
Two seasons earlier, he played center-back for BC’s fourth-place 2A team. He transferred at the end of the school year, citing his faith and academics.
Stoneman’s older sister, Maddie, a BC alumna now studying business at Wisconsin, lauded similar characteristics in her brother’s new college.
“I’ve heard from multiple people and just from reading books or the Internet that it’s not only athletics, but also academics,” said Grant Stoneman, who has not yet pondered a possible major.
Stoneman said it’s “up in the air” whether he’ll play his senior season at Wheaton Academy or compete for a year-round exposure club team such as Schaumburg-based Sockers FC.
No matter his decision, he knows the biggest thing he’ll have to hone as he prepares to enter the Big Ten, likely as a center-back.
“Just getting more fit for the college game and the speed of play, soccer in general,” he said.