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Quaker Valley grad Richert finishes Grove City soccer career | TribLIVE.com
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Quaker Valley grad Richert finishes Grove City soccer career

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Quaker Valley graduate Kyle Richert (5) plays in a game for the Grove City College men's soccer team against Baldwin-Wallace on Sept. 13, 2014.
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Quaker Valley graduate Kyle Richert (5) plays in a game for the Grove City College men's soccer team against Baldwin-Wallace on Sept. 13, 2014.

One season away from soccer was enough for Kyle Richert to want to come back to the sport he loves.

Richert, a 2011 graduate of Quaker Valley, was a member of the Grove City College men’s soccer team as a freshman and sophomore, but decided to forgo his junior season to study abroad in Chile during the 2013 fall semester. But when he returned to the states, he returned to soccer as well.

“He called me and wanted back in,” Grove City men’s soccer coach Mike Dreves said. “We put him through the paces in the spring to see where he was. He worked his way back in the starting lineup.”

Being able to maintain his fitness enough to rejoin the team so fast was no easy task. Dreves is famous around campus for developing a culture of hard work and high expectations for his athletes.

“The moment I got to the program and went into that first preseason, I got right away when we had to run a sub-five-minute mile for our fitness test that Coach Dreves and (assistant coach) Ryan Edwards meant serious business,” Richert said. “The seniors were not only leaders in their own right, but we were boys at that time, and they helped us mature and develop into men.”

Part of that growing up process was attending 6 a.m. practices during the winter after the season ended. When competing with the in-season sports for available gym time, Dreves and the other team leaders would do whatever it took to ensure the players stayed fit.

“They’re ‘not mandatory’ mandatory events,” Richert said. “Coach technically can’t lead them, but if you don’t show up, the seniors will get you. Guys don’t necessarily like it, but after the first five minutes, you wake up and are ready to go.”

Richert was a four-year letter winner and All-Section player under coach Vince Burens during his time at Quaker Valley, which prepared him in many ways for the college level of competition.

“The technical skills I learned at Quaker Valley translated extremely well,” Richert said. “It was seamless. At Grove City, Dreves has a technical focus. As a freshman there wasn’t nearly as much development time or catching up that I needed to do.”

But the biggest thing Richert has been able to bring to Grove City was a little less tangible than a five-minute mile or a good touch on the ball.

“The expectation to do well and not take anything less than 100 percent sounds cliché, but honestly that’s the biggest thing i took from Quaker Valley and brought with me here,” Richert said. “You can learn things from losing, but winning should be the expectation.”

The Wolverines have done plenty of winning with Richert in the center of the midfield. During his three seasons, Grove City has a record of 17-5-1 in the Presidents Athletic Conference, and advanced to the team’s first PAC championship since 2005 on Saturday.

The team had to play for the conference title without Richert though, who has been sidelined for most of the past six weeks due to a broken foot. The Wolverines lost Saturday’s match 1-0 to Thomas More College.

“I go to bed and I take off the boot, and then I wake up and forget I have to put it back on,” Richert said. “It’s been extremely tough, but at the end of the day I’m excited for the guys. Even though I can’t play, I still feel every bit a part of it as when I was on the field.”

After suffering an initial break early in the season, Richert worked his way back to the field before re-breaking his foot.

That drive to return to the game and once again compete with his teammates has always defined Richert, Dreves said.

“Kyle’s a competitor,” he said. “He likes to compete, and as a center midfielder for us, that’s what you have to do. He likes to get in there and get his hands dirty. That’s what he enjoys doing, and he’s built for that.”

Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @GHorvath_Trib.

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