History of Illinois Wesleyan University

The private liberal arts college Illinois Wesleyan University was founded in 1850 by a group of thirty civic and religious leaders in Bloomington, Illinois. They wanted to establish “an institution of learning of collegiate grade” in the beautiful town of Bloomington, which they figured was an excellent environment for higher learning amongst the fields and open spaces of Illinois. The founders imagined an oasis of higher education in the middle of the country where students could find the best educational environment in the area. The founders sought support and sponsors, and the local United Methodist Church stepped up to help, which is why “Wesleyan” is attached to the name. IWU maintains its Methodist affiliation to this day, but its governance is independent, and the student body remains inclusive and diverse.

Soon after IWU was founded, the explorer and geologist John Wesley Powell joined the faculty. Powell wanted to teach students in the field, and before he went on to found the National Geographic Society, he taught students in the wild, and led an unprecedented trip for college students to the Colorado mountains for fieldwork. Throughout its history, IWU has maintained a reputation for excellent liberal arts and sciences education, with those subjects forming the foundation of the IWU curriculum throughout its history. Today, IWU still offers an excellent liberal arts education and is ranked among the top 40 institutions in the country for study abroad programs.

Eric Gilbert moved from Deerfield, IL to Bloomington to attend IWU. He writes a sports column for the campus newspaper The Argus, is the paper’s Sports Editor and competes on the soccer team. In addition to writing for the paper and playing soccer, Gilbert is focused on his studies. He earned a place on the Dean’s List and hopes to pursue a minor in English to use his writing skills.

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Soccer Tip: Control the Ball

In soccer, controlling the ball in the air or at your feet is the first skill you have to learn. This skill sounds simple, but even the most experienced soccer players from around the world struggle with their ball control from time to time. Ball control is all about the first touch you have on the ball. You want to be able to receive the ball and make it go where you want it to. This is one of the basic skills in soccer and will help your team possess the ball and distribute it effectively. Effective soccer players have to be able to control the ball coming to them in the air and on the ground.

Trapping the ball is one of the first things you have to learn to be a good soccer player. Trapping is controlling the ball in the air. Soccer players have to bring the ball into their control with their feet, head, or chest when it comes to them in the air. When receiving the ball with your chest, the key is to pop the ball into the air with your chest. By popping the ball up, you are meeting the ball with counterforce instead of letting it hit you and bouncing off in an unpredictable way. Whether receiving the ball in the air or on the ground with your feet, the key is a soft touch. Hitting the ball just right when trapping takes practice to get the precise feel of the ball touching your feet. Generally, you want to receive the ball softly in order to place it directly in front of you but not tripping you under your feet.

Eric Gilbert is a collegiate soccer player from Deerfield, IL. Gilbert plays for Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. Gilbert has been playing soccer since age five and is always looking for ways to improve his game.