Catching Up With...Kyle O'Neil

Ryne E. HancockCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2009

GENOA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 17:  A match official stands beside a goal during the UEFA Europa League Group B match between Genoa CFC and SK Slavia Prague at Luigi Ferraris Stadium on September 17, 2009 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images)


Kyle O’Neil and Christina Quaratone Feb. 27, 2008

The state of Minnesota has given us plenty of things to rant and rave about.

Whether it was the play of Randy Moss and now Adrian Peterson, who is making fantasy owners’ faces light up after how he ran over Cleveland’s defense Sunday, or the fact that it was the setting for a movie that starred Marissa Tomei opposite Christian Slater and home to many of Harmon Killebrew’s majestic homers, the state has given us plenty to offer over the years.

Enter Kyle O’Neil.

A witness to many of yours truly’s embarrassing moments in North Highland Park, as well as the infamous one-on-one game against Aimee Grissom during the last week of the 2007-08 basketball season and the constant pleas from me to stop drinking Cokes, the Minneapolis native was one-third of the “Minnesota Gang,” a trio of soccer players who came south to Memphis to play soccer for Crichton College.

O’Neil and fellow Eastview alum Todd Meyer arrived in Memphis in 2007, followed by Tyler Perevich in 2008, and to be quite honest, their brief time in the Bluff City was far from boring.

“Coach Jeremy,” O’Neil said, referring to Crichton’s men and women’s soccer coach from 2007-09, “was our coach in high school, so when he took the job at Crichton, he told us to come down to Memphis.”


Bradley Greer and Kyle O’Neil at Crichton’s homecoming game in 2008

“It was a complete 180 from the atmosphere in Minnesota,” he said, reflecting on the atmosphere of Memphis, “They couldn’t have been two more different places.”

O’Neil said that his best memory from his freshman year was when he moved into his apartment and met Crichton legend Brandon Privett, along with Bradley Greer, Cathal Lynch, and Gary Allen.

“Those guys became friends for life, ” he said.

In his first season for the Comets, O’Neil scored only one goal, which came against Williams Baptist on September 24th of that year, and would be the only goal for him that season as the Comets finished 1-14-2 and last in their final season in the TranSouth.

But the most memorable moment on the field for O’Neil came when the Comets faced the Lynx on August 23rd of last year, when he got injured.

For a week, the buzz around campus was what exactly was said to the referee by O’Neil.

“I asked him where did he get his license from,” he recalled.

However, after missing nearly a month of the 2008 season, he would return to the team and score two goals that year for the Comets, who improved to 2-14-2.

Like many in North Highland Park, O’Neil never saw the near-shutdown of Crichton coming.

“I always thought,” he said, “that the students’ tuition kept business afloat. They never gave us time to prepare ourselves, so I was pissed.”

According to him, if there had been a season, O’Neil believes that the soccer team would have kept improving and when I mentioned Greer’s name, after he earned second-team A.I.I. (Association of Independent Institutions) for being one of the best goalies in the NAIA, he had this to say:

“No doubt he would have been one of the best goalies this year. Then it was his senior season.”

Today, Mr. O’Neil is currently attending classes at Minnesota State University in Mankato and is playing club soccer for the school.

“We had three tough games this weekend,” he said, “but the team’s really good.”

When asked one thing he would have wanted from Crichton, he had this to say:

“My money.”