Glen Ellyn native, Northwestern soccer goalie shows grit in tense game
Robert White went into his first collegiate soccer start a little nervous and came out of it with a lot of emotion – and an unfortunate repeat performance.
White, a Glen Ellyn native and sophomore at Northwestern, was the starting goalkeeper in the Wildcats' game against Indiana on Sept. 18 in Bloomington, Indiana, and keyed the Wildcats' 0-0 draw in double overtime with the No. 3 team in the nation. So key, in fact, that White was named the Big Ten Conference's Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
However, during the game, White suffered a foot injury that kept him sidelined for the rest of the season. It was an injury he had had before.
“I was happy that we got a result, but also worried about the severity of my injury,” White told the DuPage Policy Journal. “In the end, I was just happy to help the team the best I could in order to get a result against a strong Indiana team.”
The best he could was pretty darn good, indeed. According to nusports.com, White played 110 minutes and made six saves on shots on goal.
Before White received the honor, the Wildcats' previous recipient of the Defensive Player of the Week award was former goalkeeper Zach Allen on Oct. 27, 2015.
However, White sustained a Jones fracture in his fifth metatarsal bone and was scheduled to be out eight to 10 weeks. He said he had a similar injury as a sophomore.
“I kind of had that feeling after the game that I did the same thing because it felt very similar,” White said.
Northwestern's season ended with a 1-0 overtime loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Championships on Nov. 6 in Bloomington, Indiana.
White said the rehabilitation for his injury is going well and that he feels great.
“Right now, I’m just working on strengthening that whole area to prevent a chance of injuring it again,” he said.
Shutouts are nothing new for White, who notched 16 of them in his stellar high school career at Glenbard West en route to All-West Suburban Conference honors as a sophomore and junior. He then spent his senior season competing full-time for the Chicago Fire Academy.
Before that, he played for the Glen Ellyn Lakers club team, playing forward in the first half of games, then goalkeeper for the rest of the contest.
White said he got into soccer by watching it with his grandfather, who is from England. White said he still watches Arsenal matches to this day.
“Also, my mom would always joke that I’m never allowed to play football since I would get hurt,” he added about getting into soccer.
White said he wants to improve “in every aspect of my game” as he heads into his final two seasons at Northwestern.
“First step is getting back to where I was before the injury, but I hope to get there soon and then just getting stronger, faster and better,” he said.
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