WATERLOO — Izzy Guyer is pretty frank about how she became a goalkeeper, and it has something to do with being allergic to running.
Guyer laughs when she tells that story.
But the truth about Guyer’s bout of laziness as an 11-year-old has turned into a passion.
For the past six years, Guyer has dedicated herself to becoming one of the best goalkeepers in the state. Her efforts earned her first-team all-Mississippi Valley Conference honors last spring as a sophomore for Waterloo West, and this year she is helping the newly formed Waterloo Soccer team (a combined West and Waterloo East program) reach new heights.
On April 12, Waterloo Soccer (2-2) knocked off then-No. 4 Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 2-1 in penalty kicks, and a week later the program achieved its first ever ranking at No. 15 in Class 3A.
“That game gave us confidence we needed,” Guyer said. “The way we pushed through to the final few PKs, it was a big confidence-booster, but at the same time, we have so much we have to get better at.”
Guyer, who also plays volleyball at West, has been playing under Waterloo Soccer head coach Chris Worthley with the Cedar Valley Soccer Club as far back as an 8-under player.
Worthley says Guyer has all the right attributes to be a good goalkeeper. She’s athletic, quick on her feet and something he says is perhaps the most important trait — she’s a little cuckoo.
“I tell all my goalies that you have to be a little cuckoo to play back there,” Worthley joked. “But probably, Izzy is fearless and that is probably her strongest attribute. I’ve put her in a lot of positions where she probably gets a little nervous, but I know she will pull through.
“I’ve coached her for a few years in club so she knows what it is I expect out of her, and when you have a young player, like she was back in 11U, that wants to be a goalkeeper, you try to nurture that.”
Guyer, who is now in her third year of starting, and Worthley say she has steadily gotten better through experience and work with former Cedar Valley Club assistant and Cedar Rapids Prairie boys’ assistant Dave Kea, a goalkeeper coach.
Worthley says Kea has pushed Guyer to set no limits to what she can do on the pitch.
“During the fall, during club season, I usually go see him once a week, either on Monday or Wednesday, and I will train with his boys at Prairie,” Guyer said. “He’s worked with me for so long he knows what to look for and how to motivate me to that next level.”
Guyer has also devoted hours of work outside at her family’s two-acre home.
The many hours of work are paying off now and perhaps in the future. Guyer has been talking to several Division I and Division II college programs.
For now, however, Guyer is concentrating on being her best self while also leading a fairly young team that has big goals.
“I’ve had to work hard at getting better, and we’ve got to continue to work hard at getting closer, having chemistry, working with each other to succeed and just getting better overall,” Guyer said.