Tanner Sylvies was looking for a way to spice up practice, to liven up the monotonous training regimen of running lap after lap.
So Sylvies hit the Internet, bought a soccer training book and developed a training program based on modern soccer conditioning techniques.
Riverton senior midfielder Tanner Sylvies has six of his team’s seven goals entering this week.
Sylvies revamped the Silverwolves’ training program to incorporate interval training and more modern, soccer-specific activities.
Sylvies, who moved up this season from defensive midfield, will play at Western Nebraska Community College next year.
"We looked through some magazines and bought a book, and it really opened my eyes to the kinds of things we could do," said Sylvies, a senior at Riverton. "I felt like when my coach couldn’t do it, I could be the one to manage the team’s conditioning program and set it into place."
Sylvies implemented the new methods with his teammates during the UHSAA’s "dead period" — when coaches can’t organize practices, competition or camps. It’s an example of the same passion and intelligence Sylvies displays on the field.
"He’s an intelligent player and understands how the flow of the game works," Riverton coach Paul Moizer said. "He always puts himself in good positions."
Sylvies moved from defensive midfield to forward/attacking midfield this season after the Silverwolves graduated most of last year’s goal scorers. The impact has been immediate.
Sylvies ranks among state leaders with six goals through Riverton’s first seven games. He scored a hat trick against West and has six of the Silverwolves’ seven goals this season entering the week.
That’s as good a transition as Moizer could have hoped for when he moved Sylvies forward.
"I moved him forward hoping to get some goals out of him," Moizer said. "I’d say it’s worked out pretty well so far. He’s very accurate with his shot and puts them in the corners."
The new position is not foreign to Sylvies, who plays club soccer and futsal. Still the instant impact on the scoreboard has been a little surprising.
"Over the summer it was one of my personal goals to work on my shot and finishing abilities," said Sylvies, who did not score a season ago. "I always felt like I could do it if I got the opportunity."
Sylvies’ move forward seems not to have impacted the Silverwolves’ back line. Riverton had posted three shutouts and managed at least one point in all but one of itsfirst seven games this season.
Moizer said junior Hunter McFall’s return from a stress fracture in his back has been a big addition on defense. The Silverwolves also rotate goalkeepers, with sophomore Parker Seegmiller and senior Brady Slack splitting time in net.
Sylvies committed before the season to play next year at Western Nebraska Community College, from which he received a scholarship. His sudden goal-scoring prowess could have put him on more schools’ radars, but he is committed to playing in Scottsbluff, Neb., with Riverton teammates Sage Pemberton and Joseph Momoh.
"I know I could have gone to a bigger school," Sylvies said. "But it’s such a great deal with my friends, and we all got scholarships. I’m still planning to put in two years and then go play pro or go play at a bigger college."
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