Pierre Reedy was named a Big Ten preseason Player to watch in 2017. There was a lot of hype surrounding him as he headed into his sophomore season.
But in his first match of the year against Hofstra, after a lot of anticipation and excitement, Reedy went down with an injury.
Just like that, an injury would end his sophomore campaign as quickly as it started, which meant Reedy would redshirt all of the 2017 campaign with the hopes of making a full recovery.
But as his rehab and training went into the summer with the club team Reading United, Reedy took yet another major blow, reinjuring himself in the offseason. He was forced to redshirt for a second consecutive year.
It was crushing.
Reedy wasn’t out for pity or sympathy, though. He just wanted to be treated like everyone else and held to the same standard.
"For me, the biggest part was just trying to set myself back as little as possible the past two years. Whether that's getting in the weight room for an extra lift or doing extra core workouts while the guys are practicing,” Reedy said prior to the season. “At the end of the day I make sure I'm still working out while these guys are working out. I've done that the past two years and right now I feel really good.”
Reedy had been such an asset for Penn State in his young career and looked to be the team’s next big star, but it was fair to be skeptical if the then-20 year old would ever play in a competitive soccer game again.
Even his coach, Jeff Cook, a 30-year coaching veteran at various levels, doubted if he would be able to stay as strong and focused as Reedy if faced with the same adversity.
"I think when you watch Pierre's reaction to what happened last summer, it's nothing short of inspirational.” Cook said. “I couldn't say that I would be able to handle it and step right back and get right back at the rehab and the long hours of challenge that are there for an athlete in that position.”
Throughout the grueling process, Reedy leaned on his teammates.
"It was everything having the support of them.” Reedy said. “It's allowed me to show up every day with a smile on my face.”
Reedy’s positive spirit comes from his coaches and teammates who constantly praise his work ethic and attitude.
One of Reedy’s closest friends is defender Brandon Hackenberg, who was roommates with Reedy his freshman year. He saw Reedy at his lowest but also saw what he meant to the team.
“He’s capable of doing so much for us.” Hackenberg said. “He has always been a hard working kid and done everything right and just to see him finally get back out there and enjoy playing the game again is awesome to see because I’ve seen him struggling and upset about what was happening.”
The coaching staff took notice too and worked overtime to make sure the former star midfielder returned to the pitch.
“Nobody ever blinked and no one ever said, 'Oh, Pierre it's not going to happen' and just sort of give up,” Cook said. “Everyone's like, 'Okay, next day. Let's do it.' And we got him back.”
Reedy also caught the eye of some of the newer players including Duke transfer Seth Kuhn.
“He came into preseason as the fittest guy on the team” Kuhn said. “He really put his head down and worked so hard to get back to where he is and that speaks volumes about his recovery process.”
Reedy, a Kutztown, Pennsylvania, native and skilled junior midfielder, doesn’t take a day on the practice field for granted as he has had to sit and watch his teammates compete for the last two seasons.
He spent every day that he was able getting extra workouts in and pushing himself through pain to get back with his team.
That hard work and professionalism from Reedy can be contagious for a team, and it is a reason why he is a co-captain for the Nittany Lions in his first year back.
Everyone from his teammates to the coaching staff not only love Reedy’s play on the field, but they enjoy simply rooting for him as a person as well.
“What he's done — in almost 30 years of coaching, I've never seen anything like it. It's so impressive and it's a testament to his attitude,” Cook said.
Although Reedy’s rehab is over and he has been playing some substantial minutes so far this season, he is not satisfied with just getting back.
“I just want to help out my team any way I can.” Reedy said, “Whether it’s scoring goals or setting other guys up, I just want the team to do really well this year.”
Reedy’s ambitions are clear. He wants to perform, but at the same time, his performance means nothing without the success and happiness of his teammates.
As the season rolls along he will continue to gain back his feel for the game as well as his swagger on the field.
And he is determined to make an impact in the Big Ten with the help of the entire program who will all be with him.
“I'm ready to get after it,” Reedy said.