Siblings given opportunity to play soccer in the Caribbean

Cole Morgan, Staffer

Siblings Jake and Elyse Iller will be playing on the U.S. Virgin Islands national soccer team as of summer 2020 after finishing their senior and junior year respectively. Both siblings were invited to the national soccer camp in the islands for a week last summer to see if they were a good fit for the team. After processing some paperwork, they became official players. 

“I went down there for a week and the coaches really liked me,” Jake said. “I had to get all of these documents approved. So, once I got those approved by FIFA, I was able to be on the team.” 

Jake and Elyse were drawn to soccer around the age of 5. From there, they developed a love for the game throughout their childhood. 

“I’ve always loved soccer,” Jake said. “I used to play every sport, but it came down to baseball or soccer and baseball was too slow for me, so soccer’s always been my favorite.”  

In addition to exercise, soccer also provides Elyse with a way to exert emotion. The sport is very therapeutic for Elyse as well, as it is a great way for her to release energy.  

“It gets my anger out, you know,” Elyse said. “If you have a bad day you can just go out and kick a ball.”  

As much as the siblings love their sport, soccer does not always put them at ease, especially when facing a difficult team. 

“I’m really nervous before soccer games,” Elyse said. “I hate messing up.” 

Jake and Elyse intend to continue their soccer career apart from the national team as well. They both aspire to display their ability on the collegiate level. Jake mentioned that while he is unsure of where he will attend college, he hopes to be part of Ohio State University’s soccer team. Elyse also described her plan to play abroad in other ways. 

“In a month or so I’m going to Jamaica, and I’m playing the qualifiers for the Olympics, and then hopefully the sport will take me to college, Elyse said.