Chartiers Valley grad Jesse Tinney eager to end soccer career at Mount Union on winning note
During the summer between his junior and senior years at Mt. Union, Jesse Tinney broke his ankle playing soccer in a pickup league. He spent six weeks in a walking boot, then tried to whip himself back into shape in order to be on the field with the Purple Raiders in the fall.
But the ankle remained sore, and Tinney said he felt like he didn’t have the freedom of movement to play effectively. So he sat out the season and saved his final year of eligibility.
Healthy again, the Chartiers Valley graduate hopes to be a major part of the Purple Raiders’ quest for an Ohio Athletic Conference title. They open OAC play Sept. 29 at home against defending conference champion Otterbein.
“I think I was able to watch the game from a completely different angle,” Tinney said about his time on the sidelines last season. “I was able to see how things happened, see the flow of the game a little better.
“Mentally, I never wanted to do anything more than get back out there and play with my teammates.”
Tinney and the Raiders are off to a good start, going 3-0 through their first three matches. Tinney had three goals and an assist (seven points) in that stretch.
Overcoming the injury was one more adjustment he had to make at Mt. Union. As a freshman and sophomore, he was moved to a defensive midfield position by coach Carter Poe. Poe saw that as a position of need and believed Tinney had the technical ability and tenacity to switch from his more natural attacking position.
“He’s a pretty solid soccer player overall, and he’s a pretty smart player,” Poe said. “As time has gone on, just his hunger to play and compete and win rubs off on the other guys.
“He loves to play, and he loves big games, and the other guys pick up on that.”
Now back in a more offensive position, Tinney is trying to help the Purple Raiders break out of the middle of the pack in the rugged OAC.
The Purple Raiders have gone 4-4-1 in the OAC the past two seasons and missed out on the conference tournament in 2017. Poe said one of the keys for Mt. Union to get back to the postseason will be to score more goals, an area he believes Tinney can help. For his part, Tinney welcomes the opportunity to be aggressive on offense.
“I can be pretty creative and pretty dangerous. I love to be the playmaker,” he said. “But what I enjoy the most is winning.”
After healing from his injury — Tinney said he finally felt 100 percent by February — one of his goals was to go back and play in the same pickup league where he suffered the broken ankle. For him, it was part of the process of assuring himself he was all the way back physically and mentally.
Tinney’s team won the league. He hopes his return to the Purple Raiders is equally successful.
“Our conference is very difficult. But I think this year we can make some noise in the top three or four,” he said. “I think it just comes down to the experience we have. We are a very disciplined group, and we can be hard to break down. We keep fighting to the final whistle.”
Chuck Curti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Charles at email@example.com or via Twitter @CCurti_Trib.