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September 17, 2009 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-09-17

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10A - Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


After two years as a Mormon missionary,
Chase Tennant is back with the Wolverines



Junior Chase Tennant is back on the Michigan men's soccer team after a two-year hiatus, during which he lived in Portland, Ore. as a missionary for the Mormon church.

Daily Sports Writer
For too long, he desperately
tried to convince his companion
to accompany him on a run, but to
no avail. His companion refused to
leave the apartment and he could
not leave his companion, so he was

stuck. No running.
Such was life on a Mormon Mis-
sion in Portland, Ore. for junior soc-
cer player Chase Tennant. So after
almost two years of living with
various companions, he returned
to Ann Arbor out of shape and 12
pounds too heavy. Tennant had
been far removed from pop culture,

b Flavors " 40 Fresh Toppings

current events, academics, and soc-
cer, and obviously had some catch-
ing up to do.
Back in 2004, Tennant was still
a highly touted high school soccer
recruit in Rochester. His family was
extremely involved in the Mormon
Church, and Tennant was already
planning to take a mission trip dur-
inghis college years.
"Ever since I was a young kid,
I was always brought up under
the church," Tennant said. "It's
always played abigpartinmy fam-
ily's life as well as mine. I think
that's why, my whole life, I had
the goal of going on a mission was
because from a young age, I was
taught about the principles of the
Tennantinformed schools of his
intentions and anxiously awaited
inquiries from soccer coaches at
major programs. Akron and Bos-
ton College both refused Tennant
a scholarship, fearful that a two-
year absence from the team might
interfere with the chemistry of the
squad. But Michigan coach Steve
Burns was already experienced in
the mission process. Cam Camer-
on, a redshirt freshman on Burns's
2004 team, was preparing to leave
for a mission in Montreal later that
year, so Burns took his chances on
Tennant. The gamble paid divi-
dends right away.
Tennant immediately startedfor
the Wolverines at defense and mid-
field, earning Big Ten All-Fresh-
man Honors. He shined once again
sophomore year and even garnered
serious attention from the Colum-
bus Crew, a professional team that
offered Tennant a tryout. After the
conclusion of the season, he bade

his coaches and teammates fare-
well and embarked on his two-year
mission trip.
The first stop was a missionary
training center in Provo, Utah. For
two months, Tennant underwent
intensive Spanish classes coupled
with religious seminars to further
his understanding of the Mormon
principles. He was sent to relay
these messages in Portland, Ore.,
Tennant's home for the following
22 months.
During this span of time, Ten-
nant's relationship with soccer
drastically changed. After living
and breathing soccer asa Division-I
athlete, his playing was now lim-
ited to a weekly pickup game in a
local gym.
"The competition that I was
playing against when I was out
there wasn't very high," Tennant
said. "So Iwas kind of on my own to
keep up my skill and my fitness."
But Tennant's strict schedule
allowed for merely 30 minutes of
free time for conditioning each
day. Even this half hour was con-
strained by the wishes of Tennant's
companion. Companions shared
apartments in the Portland metro-
politan area and rotated every few
months. The two were required to
remain within eyesight and earshot
of one another at all times.
Tennant's life was tightly struc-
tured. He woke up at 6:30 a.m. and
slept at 10:30 p.m. He spent most
days knocking on doors and arrang-
ing appointments to teach people
about the Mormon Church. He
aimed at serving people in whatev-
er capacity he could, often assisting
with yard work alongside his fellow
missionaries. After massive storms

hit Portland in December 2007,
Tennant helped restore the com-
munity by clearing the wreckage. .
"One of the things that I gained
most from my mission is learning
to kind of forget about myself and
put myself in other people's shoes,"
Tennantsaid. "To kind of see every-
one as equals, trying to help every-
one and anyone rather than being
egotistical and just thinking about
my own well-being."
Tennant's service to the Mormon
Church ended last December. He
was ready to come home,yetunpre-
pared for the severe transition that
lay ahead. Tennant had changed
significantly in the past two years,
and so had Ann Arbor. Only three
players from his sophomore sea-
son remained on the squad. Most
of Tennant's previous teammates
had either graduated already or
were graduating in the spring. His
parents had moved to Chicago, and
he lacked the support system nec-
essary to endure such a tough time.
Although the two had never met,
Cameron reached out to Tennant
and the two became quick friends.
"Right when he got back, I called
him often,". Cameron said. "Of
course when you go on a mission,
most of the guys that you know on
the team have graduated, so the first
thing we did was hang out with the
team a lot. I asked him to come out
with some friends and we would go
out to either parties or get-togeth-
ers or church activities."
Although Cameron alleviated
the stresses of the social transition,
Tennant was forced to recondition
his body alone.
"When I got back I was pretty
out of shape," Tennant said. "I

remember the first couple weeks,
we would play pick up soccer here
in Oosterbahn (Fieldhouse) and I
just felt out of place. I felt alot slow-
er. I guess my spirits were down for
a while."
As a result, he worked harder.
Tennant desperately tried to hurry
the training process, but ultimately
injuredhis ankle, requiringsurgery
in February. He continued to train
while rehabilitating his ankle, mak-
ing great progress in the summer
months. Tennant's attitude quickly
impressed his new teammates and
reinforced Burns's decision to give
him a scholarship.
"He's comeback amanverysim-
ply," Burns said. "He's a guy that
his teammates all like being around
andhe knows whentohave fun. But
he also knows when to be a serious
and when to be a leader and address
guys that need to raise their level of
Tennant reclaimed his role as
a starter and was named assistant
captain before the season began.
In his second game back, Michigan
and Drake were tied late in the sec-
ond half. In the 88th minute, Ten-
nant found the ball 25 yards out.
And as ifhe never missed a beat,the
22-year old junior ripped a shot just
below the crossbar.
"As soon as the ball went into
the goal, I just didn't know what to
do," Tennant said. "I was just kind
of in shock. I just started running
around. It really helped me feellike,
'Ah I'm part of this team again.' I'm
kind of putting my stamp, I'm put-
ting my foot back down and people
can start thinking, 'Alright this is
the Chase that we've been waiting

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Fuzetti's mid-game return sparks Michigan

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Your Story - Your Community - Your Presentation

Daily Sports Writer
When Michigan's leading goal
scorer Mauro Fuzetti limped off
the field in the 11th minute of
last night's game with a hyperex-
tended knee, the entire Wolver-
ine men's soccer team looked as
though it needed treatment. The
ines were MICHIGAN 3
being out- DETROIT MERCY 1
outplayed and outmatched by a
University of Detroit Mercy team
that had only notched one win on
the season.
Then, in the 56th minute,
Fuzetti reentered the game, and
the Wolverines were cured. Mich-
igan (5-1) erased a one-goal deficit
with a dominant second half to
secure a 3-1victory.
Without Fuzetti to lead the
scoring attack in the first period,
Michigan's offense lacked cohe-
sion. Wolverine midfielders relied
greatly on long balls while for-
wards appeared intent on pen-
etrating the defense one-on-one.
The Michigan team that had
thrived all season on extended
possessions and extra passes had
"Guys get a little bit nervous,
maybe," senior captain Danny
Gray said. "We still have young
guys and they're still becom-
ing accustomed to the Division I
game. They get out here, it's game
day under the lights. They want to
show off in front of their family

Wolverines. But when the forward
did return, his presence was felt
In Michigan's next offensive
sequence, Junior defender Adam
Keller threw a long pass into the
attacking box where the ball was
deflected towards Fuzetti. The
star forward met the ball in the
air with his left foot and blasted it
into the net to equalize the score
at one.
"He could have started (the
second half), but once the energy
and adrenaline kind of comes out
of the game, you can put a player
like Mauro Fuzetti in, and he can
really have an impact," Michigan
coach Steve Burns said.
His impact resonated with the
Wolverines through the remain-
der of the second half. They out-
shot Detroit 9-5 in the period and
quickly thwarted any hope of a
Titans' comeback.
Freshman midfielder Hamoody
Saad scored his second goal in two
games on a free kick, a shot he bent
around Detroit goalkeeper Bran-
don Waterstradt.
Junior defender Jeff Quihano
added a late goal for good mea-
sure, and the Wolverines were able
to rectify the disastrous opening
"We're just having a hard time
feeling teams out, I guess," Gray
said. "It just takes us so long to
get accustomed to the fact that
we can beat these teams. I don't
know what the problem is, we
just gotta come out with more

Senior Mauro Fuzetti overcame a knee injury to lead Michigan toa comeback win.
and friends. But it's not like that sure from lackadaisical Michigan
anymore, it's not high school any- defenders. Detroit midfielder Pat
more." Lepera scored on a volley in the
As the Wolverines struggled 28th minute, and the Wolverines
without their offensive leader, trailed 1-0 at halftime.
Detroit (1-4) took control of the With Fuzetti still on the bench
game. The Titans strung passes at the start of the second period,
together beautifully without pres- it was more of the same for the


S DiiofStude~nt fairs

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