ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Daily Republican
Surrounded by family, Peyton Flynn signs her Letter of Intent to play soccer for Valparaiso University.

On Thursday, Feb. 22, the Forum Room at Belvidere North High School was packed with friends, family, classmates, and team members as Peyton Flynn signed a national Letter of Intent to play soccer at Valparaiso University next year.

“Peyton was on the Honor Roll all four years of high school. For four years she was also on the Varsity team and a NIC-10 athlete,” said BNHS Athletic Director Jody Flynn and her father. “She played volleyball her freshman and sophomore years and the last two years she has played basketball and soccer.”

“Peyton is a good person/good human being. She is one of those students you hate to see graduate. I am extremely proud as a dad. She’s a wonderful daughter.

Coach Leonard, Peyton’s basketball coach, said, “I think what separates Peyton is her willingness to do whatever the team needs. In one game she had a knee injury. I didn’t think she’d be back, She was back the next week. She got hammered the rest of the games, and I was praying her knee would not be re-injured. Coach Flynn is my boss. Valparaiso is getting someone who will do whatever it takes, whatever the team needs.”

“She works as hard in the classroom as she does on the soccer field,” Head soccer coach Naff said. Her grades and activities are really important to us as teachers and coaches. What you do not see are the thousands of hours of practice she puts in. She raises the bar. She will draw pressure on the field to let teammates have a chance to score.

“When the goalie was injured during a game with 19 seconds left to play, Peyton volunteered. We put a goalie’s jersey on her and she had a 19 second shut out. I’ve been fortunate to coach some great kids. I have had a great group of players.

“This is what a lot of players dream of – the opportunity to play at the next level.”

“She’s a great athlete,” Coach Frank Mateus said. “She doesn’t miss. She comes to practice then goes to the next practice, basketball or something.

“Valpo came over to me ten minutes into a game and asked to talk about Peyton. I am glad she will be able to play at the next level.”

The respect and love in the room was evident as other friends, coaches, and teammates spoke.

Peyton stopped playing soccer for a couple of years but truly missed it and asked to go back to it. “I’ve had so much fun playing for him (her dad),” she said. “Thanks to my basketball coach for pushing me to be a well-rounded athlete.”

“I’m proud of her,” her mom said. “I thought come her senior year, we’d be done with this, but no, we have another four years.”