Boys Soccer: Hit in the head knocks sense into Hinsdale South’s Grant Morford

Story Image Hinsdale South senior goalkeeper Grant Morford switch to soccer after suffering two concussions while playing football.

Updated: September 25, 2012 6:28PM

Grant Morford is the starting goalkeeper for Hinsdale South’s boys soccer team, but his first love remains playing on the baseball diamond.

During summer league play, Morford was a catcher and first baseman and believes he’ll get a much bigger opportunity next season as a pitcher.

Morford used his baseball skills to play in an international tournament in June in the Czech Republic. Morford was one of the youngest members of a U.S. team composed of mainly college-aged players to compete against Sweden and the host Czechs in a one-week tournament outside of Prague.

Morford joined the team through Chicago area coach Pete Caliendo, who is a board member with the International Baseball Federation. Morford’s family immigrated from the Czech Republic and he also spent a two-day vacation in Germany on the way home.

“It changed my perspective on the world,” Morford said. “It made me appreciate the United States.”

For now, the senior from Darien is the last line of defense for a soccer team which has won two out of its last three games after losing five in a row.

Morford picked up his second shutout of his career Saturday in a 2-0 nonconference victory at home against Glenbard East. Morford nearly had another shutout one game earlier Sept. 20, when the Hornets (3-9, 1-3 West Suburban Gold) lost 1-0 to defending Class 3A state champion Morton.

The suddenly revived Hornets have allowed only one goal in their last three games.

Morford only started playing soccer at the high school level as a sophomore and he missed last season due to other commitments, according to Hornets coach James Van Denburgh.

Morford started playing football while in junior high at Eisenhower in Darien. He continued as a freshman, but after the quarterback suffered two concussions during the season he looked for another sport with less contact. After one of his concussions, Morford was so dizzy that he had to spend a day in the hospital.

Morford was attracted to soccer based on his experience with the Darien Youth Club program.

“As a sophomore, I left the door open for him,” said Van Denburgh, a world languages teacher. “I had him in class. He said, ‘I want to come out.’ Every game, he has wanted to get better.”

Morford was not Van Denburgh’s first choice as starter when Hinsdale South opened Aug. 21 at home against Wheaton Warrenville South.

Junior Jose Moreno started in goal when the Hornets lost 6-0. Morford eventually substituted in and has remained in goal since.

“I knew when I was hit that I was done in football,” Morford said. “Now I’m playing soccer. I love the program.”

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