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Schwab: North goalkeeper Larsen regroups, picks Bowling Green

Published: Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

A couple months of additional anxiety could end up paying off long-term for St. Charles North boys soccer goalkeeper Billy Larsen.

Larsen committed this week to play college soccer at Bowling Green after originally choosing Manhattan in the fall.

The North senior’s Big Apple visions unraveled quickly as follow-up discussion between his family and the Jaspers’ coaching staff prompted financial concerns that could not be resolved. Larsen is a fan of New York City and has family there, so the snag hit hard.

“I was mostly frustrated not with myself, but the whole situation at hand,” Larsen said. “For an athlete to go through everything and commit, and then have someone tell him you can’t do what you’re dreaming of. … It was a period of frustration, and then a period of acceptance, and then getting back on my feet, knowing everything that I’ve trained for, it’s not over yet.”

Larsen went back to the drawing board for Round 2 of his recruitment. This time, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, Benedictine University and Hope College (Mich.) emerged as finalists.

Larsen, who plans to be a pre-med student, thought Bowling Green’s combination of quality academics and Division I soccer was the way to go, and he committed Wednesday to the Falcons.

“Bowling Green produces more professional players and they have a better overall record than Manhattan has, so kind of looking back on it, I’m glad things worked out with Bowling Green instead of Manhattan in terms of academics and soccer, but socially I would have fit in at both places, and I loved both those schools,” Larsen said.

Another perk of the change in plans: Larsen now will play alongside – and likely room with – Geneva senior midfielder Beck Nebergall, who also has committed to Bowling Green. Larsen and Nebergall are longtime club teammates with Campton United.

Larsen has a pair of younger brothers, Joshua and Jackson, who are both in North’s soccer program, although neither are goalkeepers. He said going to Bowling Green instead of Manhattan will “save some financial frustrations and what could kind of catch up with me in the future.”

Finally, he has peace of mind about his college soccer future.

“[Recruiting] is nothing you can kind of just forget about and let go,” Larsen said. “It’s relieving to kind of get it all over with, having to go through the process twice, but I think going through the second time kind of helped me. I knew where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do as opposed to the beginning, when I kind of went into it blindsided.”

Cotter commits: St. Charles North football senior lineman Camden Cotter has committed to Division III Carthage. Carthage (Wis.) competes in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin.

Cotter, also a basketball player for the North Stars, was North’s right offensive tackle this season and part of a formidable offensive line that helped senior running back Evan Kurtz enjoy a banner season.

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or jschwab@shawmedia.com.

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