Reed finds step again in second season


Dominic Renzetti, Assistant Sports Editor

When Chris Reed was a kid, she could barely walk, but now she uses those same feet to score goals.

Reed, who has scored a goal in each of the Eastern women’s soccer team’s last four matches, grew up with problems in her feet that made them turn in, making it difficult for her to walk. To make things easier, she wore braces on her feet. Reed, a huge movie fan, said the braces on her legs made her feel like Forrest Gump.

To help build muscles in her calves and strengthen her legs, Reed’s mother put her in figure skating and she began to ice skate competitively.

“I was one of the kids that played every sport,” she said.

When she was 10 or 11, Reed said she finally chose soccer over figure skating.

“I was going from ice skating to soccer practice, soccer practice to ice skating and then I had to choose one and I chose soccer,” she said.

At Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, Reed, a native of Mokena, was a three-year captain and was named to the IHSSCA All-Sectional Team three times.

She finished her career at Providence with more than 100 goals and 15 assists. In a 2011 article from Chicagoland Soccer, writer Bill Scheibe compared Reed, then a senior, to the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose after Providence’s 4-0 win over Lincoln Way-East.

“It’s like Derrick Rose and the Bulls,” he wrote. “If you asked Lincoln-Way East coach Brian Papa and senior midfielder Erin Mangia for a scouting report before the game, one Providence Catholic name resembled the thorn: Chris Reed.”

Reed had two goals in that match and had already caught the attention of then-Cincinnati head women’s soccer coach Michelle Salmon. Reed chose the Bearcats over Central Michigan and committed to Cincinnati and played there for two seasons, red-shirting her first in 2011. She played in 12 matches her sophomore year.

After Salmon was let go from Cincinnati in 2012, Reed too decided to start to look for a new place to play. Her older sister, Mary Kate, was also a soccer player at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, but wouldn’t be there much longer, as she would soon be gradating.

“I knew I wanted to stay in-state,” Reed said. “I had contacted other people, other schools in Illinois, obviously, and I think it was maybe five minutes after I emailed Eastern, Cherry called me and was like, ‘we’d love to have you, come take a visit.’”

Eastern head coach Jason Cherry had researched Reed and liked that she was a person who could score goals, something the Panthers desperately needed at the time. The previous season’s top scorer Kristin Germann graduated and second leading scorer Brooke Sill transferred to Florida Gulf Coast. With that, Reed came down to Charleston for a visit.

“After meeting her and her father when they came for a visit, I knew right away I would love to have her on the team,” Cherry said.

In her first year at Eastern, Reed had one goal in a 2-0 win over Jacksonville State on Oct. 13, 2013. Now, in her second season as a Panthers, already leading the team in goals, Reed feels like she’s getting back to her high-school form.

“I was averaging like one or two goals a game throughout my whole high school career,” she said. “I don’t really want to say to get back in the swing of things, but this is how I was in high school where I’d score a goal a game, so I feel like last year I was kind of getting back into it because I didn’t really play at Cincinnati.”

Reed and the Panthers take the field again at 3 p.m. Friday against Valparaiso at Lakeside Field before wrapping up non-conference play at 1 p.m. Sunday on the road against Chicago State.


Dominic Renzetti (@DomRenzetti) can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].