MATTOON — Saige Overton knows soccer at the college level is going to be a whole different game, but that's what has her excited.
Overton, who has been a standout midfielder for the Mattoon High School girls' soccer team the past two seasons, will get to try her hand at the next level as she signed to play for the Kaskaskia College women's soccer team on Thursday.
"This is going to be a big change for sure, coaching style and playing style, and I will be playing with girls I don't really know, so that will be different," Overton said. "I am excited for both the upcoming season for both high school and college. I am excited for the upcoming season and excited to expand my horizons and further my studies into soccer and school. Thanks to all of my coaches along the way and to (Kaskaskia coach Joe) Basch."
Kaskaskia is coming off an 11-4 season and made it to the Region 24 quarterfinal. Overton drew interest from Lindenwood-Bellevue, but she liked how being at Kaskaskia felt.
"I was looking for a rural place like Land Land and (Kaskaskia) is the closest to it. The atmosphere is nice and it's nice how the apartments are just for the athletes, so it's kind of like a closed group of people," Overton said. "I went to Lindenwood and it was a bigger school, a four-year. So going to a four-year, I wouldn't get as much playing time there like at Kaskaskia."
Basch said Overton is a good fit on Kaskaskia's team.
"She fills in at the midfield, which is an area of need because we lost a few due to graduation," Basch said. "It was our main area of concern with the freshman class and she will be good as a wide midfield player for us."
Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere thinks Overton is a good addition to the Blue Angels program and glad he gets to coach Overton for one more season.
"She's really grown over the past four years and hopefully she will have a good senior season this spring," Ghere said. "To have this weight off her shoulders, who knows what she can do. She can just play this spring and hopefully help get us over the hump and get us some more wins. She's worked really hard and worked on the things she wasn't really good at a couple of years ago and has really improved as an outside midfielder and found her niche there. I think she will be a leader for us this spring."
Overton made the decision well before girls' soccer season even starts. Mattoon's first soccer match isn't until March 12 at the Decatur tournament. Now Overton has that weight off her shoulders since she knows what college she will attend. Overton can focus on just soccer now.
"I will have time to adjust to his coaching style and the pace of the college games compared to the high school games, because it's very different," Overton said.
Basch said Overton can made a good impact right away with the team.
"She fits in with exactly what we need in the outside mid area," Basch said. "Seeing her play a bit and stuff, her speed, her ability to drive the ball, her ability to attack the corners and also defend along with driving crosses in, it's exactly what we need."