Summer all about discipline for Bobcats junior-to-be

Posted Monday, Jun. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Christian Pratt pretty much makes it a habit to have his feet touching a soccer ball every day. And we’re not just talking about walking in the backyard, kicking the ball a couple of times. We’re talking about doing this 1,000 times per day and then mixing in running over to a nearby park and working with friends.

“If you aren’t doing stuff over the summer, you’re behind,” the junior-to-be Byron Nelson middle defender said. “That’s the way I look at anything, especially academically. Everything is so competitive. You need to keep doing something. You need to be disciplined and do it on your own.”

Pratt is making preparations to become a three-year starter for the Bobcats, who advanced to the Class 4A Region I quarterfinals before losing a heart breaker to Wichita Falls Rider. In the meantime, he’s going through the summer playing for the Texans out of Fort Worth. The team recently finished a showcase event at the Dallas Cup and has already played in tournaments in Cincinnati and St. Louis.

For now, the Texans are essentially on sabbatical for the summer. But Pratt’s chief priority is to make sure he’s constantly working.

What’s interesting about Pratt is that he clearly understands what it means to play club soccer and to play for his high school. There’s never been much question that the caliber of club soccer is at a higher level. The best players are involved in the sport and the majority of college recruiters will come to watch those games and tournaments.

However, the high school game carries more pressure because its players represent an institution of about 2,000 people mixed with students and faculty. Honoring the name means something.

“There’s a lot more pressure in high school,” Pratt said. “In club ball, you’re letting down parents and friends who came to watch you [if you lose]. But in school, there’s a sense of pride. There’s also a sense of competition. Our girls soccer team is exceptional [it played in the 2012 Class 4A state final and 2013 Region I title game], and you want to show that your team is just as good.”

Repetitions and the discipline have paid off. Pratt believes his skill level has improved significantly, to the point where there will come a time where college coaches will want to know more and evaluate more. That’s the way this works.

But his work with Nelson coach Howard Putter has made a difference. He believes Putter has pushed him in the right direction to be as physically fit as possible to play his game at a high level.

“What’s great about Christian is that he has two more years to go,” Putter said. “He will do whatever he needs to do to take our team to the next level.”

As a middle defender for the Bobcats, Pratt looks like he’s playing out of position. He’s not exactly on the middle line or the last line. He’s in front of the defense but behind the midfielders. Pratt’s job is to stop attacks and start offensive pushes. As far as Putter is concerned, Pratt is a natural.

“You just need to keep pushing yourself and stay strong and fast,” Pratt said. “This is all to be better and to get you ready for the future.”

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