Cedarville men’s soccer goalkeeper Ethan Dewhurst anchored the Yellow Jackets on the defensive end, chalking up a school record of 10 shutouts during the 2013 season. But just five months before the season started, Dewhurst, who is currently a junior, was spending his days off the soccer field and in a wheelchair.
Dewhurst said he has been playing soccer for as long as he can remember, and just about everyone in his family enjoys soccer. For the past 20 years, a member of the Dewhurst family has taken part in a Cedarville soccer season, either on the field or working as a ball boy. Working with the team started with his older siblings Nathanael and Tobias when they were kids, and continues now with two of his younger siblings, Matthias and Eben.
Dewhurst said he has been playing soccer for as long as he can remember. As he was growing up, he spent a lot of time working on his game. He got his start playing competitive travel soccer as an eight year old for Ohio F.C. out of Dublin. From ages 14-16, he played for Team Dayton, a travel soccer team, and eventually the Crew Soccer Academy, which is two steps below the major league level. This exposure led him onto the training field with the pro soccer club, Columbus Crew, which competes in Major League Soccer.
In fall 2012, Dewhurst enrolled at Cedarville and earned the starting position as goalkeeper for the Yellow Jackets’ men’s soccer team. He recorded seven shutouts and made the All-Conference Second Team, but he had a nagging groin injury.
“There’s nothing worse than being useless as a result to an injury when you feel you need to be out on the field sweating and giving it your all alongside your teammates,” Dewhurst said.
In January of 2013, his trainer, Leyna Hebert, unofficially diagnosed him with sportsman’s groin. After meeting with five different doctors, the consensus was still unclear on the injury. One doctor said Dewhurst had a stress fracture in his pelvis, while another suggested that his hips were separated. Still another said that nothing was wrong with him and told him to play through the injury.
While the doctors were trying to figure out Dewhurst’s diagnosis, he was in a wheelchair and doing hours of rehab each day. He was hoping to play spring soccer, but after two months of rehab, a doctor officially diagnosed him with what his trainer told him he had all along: sportsman’s groin. The solution for this injury would be found in Germany of all places.
In mid-spring, Dewhurst flew to Munich, Germany, for surgery with Dr. Muschaweck, an expert hernia surgeon. The operation was successful, and Dewhurst returned to the States, where his trainer put together an intensive post-surgery rehab plan. As a result, he ran two miles in 12:30 and a half minutes just three weeks after his surgery.
He continued to push through his rehab plan, working hard to get back on the field. In May of 2013, Ethan went back to the Crew Academy and trained with them for three weeks before being invited back to train with the Columbus Crew’s pro team. Dewhurst then spent the rest of his summer following his trainer’s recovery plan. He trained daily with the Columbus Crew until Cedarville’s preseason, during which he ran a 5:10 mile.
Dewhurst came back from the injury a better player, as evidenced by breaking school records. He recorded 10 shutouts and allowed 0.64 goals per game. This all came against better competition as the Jackets were in their first full year as NCAA Division II members. The Jackets finished the year with a record of 13-3-4, winning the G-MAC in the process. His achievements on the field led to his inclusion on the NCCAA All-America Second Team.
Dewhurst said that his greatest challenge when goalkeeping is staying mentally focused.
“If the keeper makes a mistake, that’s it, the other team scored,” he said. “There’s no time to let your mind wander, you have to be focused for the total 90 minutes of the game.”
Dewhurst is a team player who wants to give his team his very best for the entire game. When asked to describe his teammates in five words, he responded, “Fun. Encouraging. Ridiculous. Competitors. Family.”
What does the upcoming season hold? The Jackets are preseason favorites to win their conference. If Dewhurst and his teammates continue their high level of energy and intensity on both offense and defense, by the end of the season, they may be two-time G-MAC champions.
Dave Guidone is a junior social studies education major and sports reporter for Cedars. His hobbies include, eating, snacking, shooting hoops and laughing. Hebrews 13:8