Girls Soccer: Payton’s Corinne Harris is back in a big wayCorrine Harris of Payton High School Soccer. Patrick Gleason ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 1, 2012 10:58PM
Corinne Harris took a two-year sabbatical from high school soccer. She was certainly missed at Payton.
Three years ago as a freshman, Corinne and her older sister Caroline Harris led the Grizzlies to a Public League soccer title. The last two years, Harris has played with the club program, Naperville Soccer Association. Last summer in Phoenix Harris helped propel them to a national championship.
Having secured her ultimate goal of a scholarship from a major program at Michigan, Harris made her return to high school soccer a triumphant one. Her transition has been seamless. Though she missed several games from complications of an enlarged spleen likely caused by a virus, Harris been electrifying for the Grizzlies, scoring 23 goals.
The senior forward is now utilizing her club experience as a vital lesson for playing at Payton. “The club experience helped me play in big games, and that’s helped me get better,” said Harris, who started playing organized soccer at the age of 8.
Her older sisters Emily and Caroline both played four years at Payton. Caroline is playing club soccer at Northwestern. “It was really important to play at Payton, that’s where I knew I was always going to play,” Corinne said.
“In high school, you’re playing with kids of all ages and being a senior gives you a big advantage. I’m definitely more confident. As a freshman I remember being somewhat intimidated. When you’re a senior, it gives you a feeling that I should be out there, I’ve done this before,” she said.
Payton coach Eric Kuchii said Harris’ return has had a transformative impact on the rest of the team. “When Corinne is out there, she gives the other players a lot of confidence and they just play harder because they know she can do so much,” he said.
As a forward, Harris is the focal point of the Grizzlies’ offense. She’s the primary playmaker and the focus of their attack. Her speed and agility are overwhelming most of the time.
“My strengths as a player is that I’m fast and that I like to lead,” she said.
Her competitiveness elevates the rest of the players. “What I try to do is talk a lot, making sure we have really good communication as a team,” Harris said.
“When everybody on the team has the same high expectations, even if they come from different environments or have different circumstances, when the other girls seeing somebody like me playing hard, it gives them motivation.”
Harris missed the Grizzlies’ one-sided loss to two-time city champion Lane. She said the team’s focus is finishing strong in conference and gearing up for the city and state tournaments. As a Class 2A program, Harris said Payton is poised to make its name there.
Her greatest thrill, she said, is “winning. Coming off the field knowing you played your best and the team played at the highest level and did what we need to do, that is why you go out there and play.“