Athlete of the Issue: Liv Gwilliam

MacKenzie Guynn At the age of five, Olivia Gwilliam started playing soccer with her dad, who at the time was her AYSO coach. Four years later, she started playing for Team Evanston until she switched clubs last year to FC United, a more competitive league. Meanwhile, she tried basketball and tennis, although she never took them as seriously as soccer. She played tennis for Latin in her freshman year, but when she made the switch to FC United sophomore year, she had to quit tennis, something that she “played mostly for fun.” Now known as Liv to her coaches and teammates, she plays center defensive mid for Latin’s team. And she plays either outside defense, center defense, or center defensive mid on her travel team. These three positions are crucial to keeping her opponents from scoring and also gives her opportunities to score goals and assist her teammates. Liv is able to complete all of these tasks and is one of the reasons why the girls’ soccer team has been so successful in recent years. Soccer has become a large part of Liv’s life as it “consumes pretty much all [of her] free time” with away tournaments and practices. This is something that Liv has come to love, but also hate. She feels “soccer consumes too much of [her] life, especially in the end of the fall and winter when [her] club team travels out of town most weekends.” However, soccer also serves as a good stress reliever for Liv. If something is off or she is having a bad day, soccer practice “just puts [her] in a better mood.” This is only one of the things that she likes about soccer. Another aspect that she enjoys is the social side to playing a team sport. By playing soccer, Liv is able to be a part of a team and build strong relationships with her teammates. Through her travel team, Liv has been able to meet “so many people and [make] such good friends … that [she] never would’ve gotten the chance to meet.” She also enjoys getting to know “and being friends with girls from different grades that [she] wouldn’t normally get to see” through Latin’s soccer team. This is both because of the team dynamic, and Liv’s personal mindset. She believes that “in order to be a good team, everyone needs to know each other well and support each other on and off the field.” Such a mentality can be seen in Liv’s ability to make a successful pass to another teammate from her position on the field. A fellow soccer player commented on Liv’s presence on the team. “Liv is a strong team member on and off the field. She is always giving everyone positive feedback and constantly making smart comments to get the team to perform at its best.” She also noticed Liv’s kind nature off the field as “she’s been great at welcoming the underclassmen to the team, and she is all around just a great player and teammate.” She then went on to say that “you can always count on Liv for anything.” The next time you go to a girl’s soccer game, keep an eye out for Liv and see for yourself.]]>