By Steve Millar

It’s an important summer for Lyons goalie Matt Vear.

After a breakout junior season that featured eight shutouts for the Class 3A sectional finalist, Vear is working overtime in July and August to prepare for his final high school campaign.

“I’m training a lot and working hard with my club team,” said Vear, who also plays for the Lyons Township Soccer Club (LTSC). “I know the hard work is going to benefit me during the high school season.”

Vear and several of his high school teammates are a part of the LTSC U-18’s, which recently won the U.S. Youth Soccer Midwest Regional championship in South Dakota.

With the win, LTSC advances to the National Championships, which kickoff on July 24 in Frisco, Texas.

“It’s really exciting, because there are going to be eight great teams down there and every game is going to be huge,” Vear said. “It’ll be a big challenge and help us prepare for the high school season.”

Vear pointed to the fact that playing with many of his high school teammates has a big advantage in the coming weeks and months ahead.

“We develop chemistry, and it’s huge,” Vear said. “We know what to expect from each other and what the other can do.”

Thanks to that chemistry and returning talent, there’s a good chance Lyons will once again be a top seed in the PepsiCo Showdown, which kicks off its 15th Annual event in September. The Lions advanced to the PepsiCo Showdown Final Four in the Aquafina Bracket (top 16 seeds) last season, after having played in the title game in 2014 and 2015.

“Chemistry helped a lot (in 2016),” Vear said. “I had that tight bond with my teammates, and we communicated great on the field. That gave me a lot of confidence.”

Like many players, Vear started his career as a forward. But eight years ago, he moved to the goal and never looked back.

“I developed a love for playing goalie,” Vear said. “I love being able to see the whole field, being able to call the shots and be in control.”

Off the field, Vear is just as determined as he is on it to make an impact in his community. He and his teammates have and will continue to work with local special needs soccer players this fall to make a difference in the lives of others.

“Giving back to the community is huge,” Vear said. “We’ve been able to help out with the younger kids, and I’ve loved it.

“We go play soccer with them, and they really have a great time. It means a lot to show love to one another.”