A New Trier boys soccer player continues to struggle in a match. He delivers a pass toward the vicinity of a wide-open Trevian, who halts abruptly and turns around because the pass is errant, too strong. The struggling player later elevates and whiffs on a header attempt.
The struggling player’s shoulders slump, mirroring the formation of his frown.
Attacking center-midfielder Logan Weaver notices his teammate’s frustration and decides to do something about it.
“Logan,” Trevians coach Matt Ravenscraft says of the NT senior-to-be and Wilmette resident, “would play closer to that struggling teammate last year, connect [via a pass] a few times with that player, do whatever he could to boost the confidence of that player. Logan then would go back to doing his thing. He manages the game well, plays our sport’s quarterback role effectively as a player and as a leader.”
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound Weaver was a captain for last year’s Class 4A sectional semifinalist, a 19-4 squad. He’ll serve as a captain again this fall.
His take on what he does to reverse a teammate’s frown in mid-match?
A shrug of his positive shoulders, because it’s the right thing to do.
“No one role on a team in soccer is more important than the other roles,” says Weaver, who verbally committed to play men’s soccer at Northwestern University near the end of the 2017 season. “I dropped basketball to concentrate on soccer in the eighth grade because soccer is more team-oriented than basketball is. We’re all brothers in soccer. If a teammate is having a tough day, a tough stretch out there, the team suffers. You need all 11 players, plus the 10 or so on the bench, to succeed. New Trier’s boys soccer program is about creating a comfortable environment.
“I’m always interested in doing my part to make everybody feel comfortable.”
Members of New Trier’s boys soccer team read Legacy, a book by James Kerr, last year. It’s about the New Zealand national rugby union team, named the All Blacks. The club made its international debut in 1903, beginning a run of dominance that shows no sign of abating. The All Blacks won the last two Rugby World Cups, in 2011 and 2015 and boast an all-time winning percentage of 77 against other national teams. The five-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots of the NFL have won 74 percent of their regular-season games under head coach Bill Belichick since 2000.
“I read a lot; I love to read,” says Weaver, vacationing in Italy with his family until early August. “I’d lost that love, from ninth grade to 11th, but I have it again. I’m interested in learning, getting motivated through reading. You can work to do everything better as an athlete, even the little things. If you do 100 little things one percent better, that makes you 100 percent better. When you’re a better player, you can change a game, and you can improve your team.”
Weaver — a right back in his freshman season — scored 10 goals and fed a team-high 17 assists in his junior season last fall, a year after playing deeper, defensively, as a center-mid. His transition from center-mid to attacking center-mid in one year?
Smooth, almost frighteningly smooth.
“We took a major step forward at the varsity level last year,” Ravenscraft says. “What Logan provided for us, both offensively and defensively, had a lot to do with that improvement. His athleticism is outstanding, especially his ability to accelerate, and he’s extremely fit. The pacer test I give our guys each preseason, Logan won that last fall. Easily. Nobody came close to him.”
Weaver’s vision and sound sense of spacing on pitches also make him a handful in a sport in which the majority of play involves feet. A 2017 all-sectional selectee, he has, with the ball at his feet, that crowd-pleasing, coach-pleasing, teammate-pleasing ability to boot a pass through narrow openings amid traffic — chaos, really — in and around the midfield.
“Logan was good, so good, at getting the ball to our front three [forwards],” Ravenscraft says. “People sitting way up in the stands during our games, maybe they could see what Logan saw. From my perspective along a sideline, I could not. Logan knows what he needs to do to play that perfect pass, to deliver it at the angle it needs to be delivered. His ability to distribute is special. “And I expect our team to be as dynamic this year as it was last year, with Logan’s talent and high soccer IQ returning.”
Weaver’s father, Thomas, played baseball until his freshman year in high school. Weaver’s mother, Therese, was captain of a cheerleading squad. They have four kids, all of them either Division I athletes or future Division I athletes. All of them. The eldest, Jessica, played soccer at DePaul; Claire plays field hockey at Villanova; and Emma, a junior-to-be at NT, verbally committed to play soccer at Villanova. “Great fit for him,” Ravenscraft says of Logan Weaver suiting up for Northwestern’s Wildcats, beginning in the fall of 2019. “I’m thrilled. He’ll play close to home, and we’ll be able to watch him play.”
The coach heard Weaver give a speech following the Trevians’ season last fall. Weaver delivered heartfelt words at the team banquet, proving he doesn’t always need a soccer ball to come through in the clutch on a big stage. His audience that night included 11 New Trier senior soccer players. Weaver singled out each of them.
“Logan,” Ravenscraft recalls, “told us what each senior meant to him. Fantastic. It was a fantastic speech. It didn’t surprise me. Nobody in the room was surprised. Logan is mature beyond his years, has been since I first met him. He’s articulate, bright, strong in the classroom, and he thinks about life in a good way, a refreshing way.”