Some athletes bring tricks to the game they love to play. This is the case with senior business major Eric Haigh, who scored the game-winning goal in double overtime against Schreiner University last week. Haigh brings his signature flip to the soccer pitch every week.
Haigh commented that playing club and high school soccer helped prepare him for soccer at the University of Dallas.
“It helped me a lot with balancing classes and playing, because for club you didn’t really have to worry about schoolwork, you just have to worry about game-to-game practice,” Haigh said. “In high school you had to go to class, and then at the end of the day you had to go to practice, and then go home and do homework, which is pretty much what I do here. The level of play in high school got me prepared for it at college.”
Haigh played in 18 matches in 2015 and started in all 19 matches in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. In 2017 he had a flip-throw assist for UD’s first goal in what would be a 4-1 win over Southwestern University in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Association (SCAC) Tournament Semifinal match.
“I was a gymnast when I was younger,” Haigh said. “I was a competitive gymnast for five years. That gave me my background for the flip-throw. I was at one of my friend’s games, and someone on the other team did a flip-throw. My friend’s brother asked me if I could do that. On the first try I fell. On the second try I got it, and since then I haven’t fallen again.”
The flip-throw is an advanced technique of the throw-in; instead of just throwing the ball into play from the sidelines, the player flips onto the soccer ball and finishes the flip to launch the ball for a potential offensive strike. The flip throw allows the ball to travel much farther and reach key players who can score a goal at a moment’s notice.
Haigh also noted how important Head Coach David Hoffmann is to the UD men’s soccer team.
“He gives us a few pointers on the other team, like maybe who to watch out for,” said Haigh. “He really just focuses on us and makes sure we’re mentally prepared to do our jobs and gives us a confidence boost.”
As a defender, Haigh has been a part of five UD shutouts in 2015, five in 2016 and seven in 2017. He was the SCAC Defensive Player of the Week in week seven of 2017, part of the All-SCAC First Team in 2017, and part of the USC All-West Region Second Team in 2017 as well.
“Communication is key,” Haigh said. “That’s got to be one of the biggest things about defending. Don’t get scared about who you’re playing. We all have two legs and two arms. Everyone is the same. Just be focused and be confident. Defending is a lot about effort.”