When reminiscing on memories that he had with West senior soccer hand Dalton Meyers upon his signing with Tiffin University on Friday evening, West girls soccer head coach Tom Hoggard — who helped formulate both of the soccer programs that are in existence on the West Side — recalled his son, T.J., playing good ole’ fashioned hide-and-seek with Meyers when the duo were younger.
And hide-and-seek, definitely, is a fun game to play. But when you are in the goal, or facing obstacles that you have to overcome in life, you can’t run and hide from the pressure.
True to the adage, Dalton Meyers never ran from hard work or when times got tough on the West Side. In fact, he only embraced the challenges along the way to becoming a collegiate soccer player.
Now, Meyers will see his dream become an official reality in the Fall of 2018, when the senior goalkeeper suits up for Tiffin at the same position. The talented youngster made his destination official on Friday evening in a signing ceremony at West in front of his family and friends.
For Meyers, the opportunity to obtain a full-ride scholarship and realize a lifelong dream is certainly a thrilling accomplishment that the senior won’t soon forget.
“It’s really exciting,” Meyers said. “It was really crazy. I wasn’t expecting to sign with an NCAA Division II school. It’s just really good to have this recognition come around the Scioto County area and the region as a whole.”
But according to one of his mentors, the accomplishment isn’t a surprise.
“It’s great,” Hoggard said. “Dalton really worked hard over all four of his years of school. He knew that this what he wanted to do when he was a boy, so it’s great to see that his dreams became a reality today.”
Over his four-year career as a West Sider, Meyers has transformed himself into not only one of the best keepers in the SOC I or II divisions, but over the entire Southeast District as a whole. The Senators’ man in the middle of the posts ultimately obtained back-to-back Honorable Mention All-Southeast District honors at the position for West as the upperclassman progressed throughout his high school career.
“His work ethic,” Hoggard said of a quality that suits Meyers. “He really worked to be here and contribute in anything that he did. He was an outstanding teammate and a good leader.”
Meyers, however, also rose his game when the stakes were at their highest. Against West Union in a Division III Sectional Semifinal and with both teams fighting for their tournament lives, Meyers pitched a critical shutout, which ultimately allowed Uriah VanDyke’s to win the game with a shot with 13 seconds left in a dramatic 1-0 victory that went down to each second during the 90-minute affair. And before that contest even occurred, Meyers showed excellent signs of progress by putting together a wonderful matchup inside MAPFRE Stadium as the Senators fell in a tight 2-1 battle to Waverly.
“It’s their biggest game of the season, and he played his butt off,” Hoggard said of the West Union contest. “You play to the moment, and that was an outstanding effort that he put together. The year before, he played at Crew Stadium, and they suffered a 2-1 loss there, but Dalton played an outstanding game. He was very good in goal that game, as well. He’s been on the big stage.”
“Having that be my first shutout in my high school career was so exciting,” Meyers said of the West Union game. “Seeing the ball go in the back of the net was so exciting. I was just so proud of all of my teammates for contributing in the back and up front.”
At Tiffin, Meyers — who plans to pursue an exercise science degree en route to an athletic training career — will join a program that has obtained a great deal of success over the course of the past few seasons in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC).
Under the direction of Rudy Brownell, who will be entering his 10th season at the helm of the Dragons’ men’s soccer program this fall, Tiffin has established a 124-61-21 overall mark since Brownell took over the program in 2007. Brownell — whose dedication to soccer not only shows in the women’s record (84-39-16), but in the fact that he coached the men and women simultaneously in 2007, 2008, and 2009 — has led the men to winning records in all but one season of his head coaching career on the men’s side. In six of the 10 seasons, Brownell has either won or garnered a share of a GLIAC Championship of some kind.
“It was really good getting to know the coaching staff,” Meyers said. “The coaches are focused, and if you needed help, they would help you and really connect with you. I really just loved the atmosphere up there, and the campus. Being able to play with most of the current players was a really nice experience, too, because it allowed me to get to know them a little bit more.
I couldn’t have obtained this opportunity without my friends, my family, and my teammates,” Meyers continued. “One of my best friends, Nathan, has been a huge help. We’ve trained countless hours on and off of the field working out and just kicking around the days. It’s been a lot of fun.”
“Dalton and his parents did a lot of leg work on where he would fit in,” Hoggard said. “He would ask questions about the process, and I just told him, ‘Be yourself and work hard.’ That’s what he did.”
With his West career coming to a close as the fall went on, Meyers couldn’t help but feel some sadness at what he was departing.
“It was a really great experience,” Meyers said. “I had a lot of fun the past four years. It was sad at times, thinking that this year was going to be it for me in a West uniform, but it was mostly breathtaking.”
However, it’s clear that Meyers is ready for the next level — because he isn’t hiding from the challenges.
“It’s not impossible,” Meyers said of accomplishing his goal of obtaining a collegiate soccer opportunity. “If you have a dream and you want to go and play sports, whether it’s NCAA Division I, Division II, Division III, or NAIA, it doesn’t matter. You can do it as long as you work hard for it.”