But first things first, the 2010 Grand Haven graduate has something to prove on the soccer field himself.
Morlock will be entering his junior season at Augsburg College, a Division 3 school located in the heart of Minneapolis, Minn. He’s enjoyed considerable success with the Auggies in two seasons, including last fall, when he posted five shutouts and allowed just five goals in nine games. His season was shortened several games due to a painful quad injury, but he still garnered enough respect from coaches throughout the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) to earn honorable mention All-Conference honors.
The Auggies finished with a respectable 10-5-3 record.
“It was rough to start out, because I had the flu for a few weeks, then I strained my quad and couldn’t kick a soccer ball for about a month,” he said. “But when I was healthy, I was our No. 1 goalie.
“My freshman year, we made it to the second round of the (NCAA) tournament. Last year, we lost in the conference tournament, which kind of sucked, because we had higher expectations.
“Our coach (Greg Holker) has built a program here where we expect to compete every year for a championship and on the national stage.”
If he can remain healthy, Morlock believes he can turn in a dominating season between the pipes. He’s dedicated to a five-days-a-week workout regimen this summer to improve his strength and agility and also improved his skill set by being invited to the prestigious Advanced National Training Center goalie camp in Sunrise, Fla. The camp, based on the curriculum of former U.S. Women’s National Team coach Tony DiCicco, features some of the best coaches in the country.
“My coach there was Ziggy Zigante, who coached the goalies on the Croatian National Team,” Morlock said. “I wouldn’t say there was one thing that I really improved on, but a lot of little things. A lot of it was paying attention to detail and working on positioning. It gave me something to build off of.”
Morlock has also dedicated three days a week this summer to being an instructor at close friend Michael Gagnon’s inaugural soccer camp, College Prep Soccer LLC. Gagnon, a former soccer standout at Spring Lake, brainstormed the camp as a class project at Aquinas College, and it’s his mission to provide soccer-specific speed and fitness workouts to high school athletes who aspire to take their game to the next level.
Morlock and Gagnon, along with local college soccer standouts Annie Steinlage of Spring Lake, Aliina Weykamp of Grand Haven and Matt VanZytveld of Grand Haven, guided approximately 20 high school athletes through a rigorous workout Monday evening – one session in a three-days-a-week camp that runs through July 27. The camp got under way in early June.
“(Michael and I) met in our junior years of high school,” Morlock said. “We used to play travel (soccer) together, but we lived kind of close by each other, and we really bonded through working out together for soccer.
“I love being a part of the camp because I get to work with my friends,” he added. “And it’s great to be involved with because it’s kids who want to be better. They’re paying us money to help improve their skills. All the kids have a positive attitude and are serious about the work they put in.”
Morlock has also lent his expertise in goalie training at Hope College’s soccer camp, where he’s joined forces with a pair of former Grand Haven teammates – VanZytveld and Nick Heyboer – who both play for the Flying Dutch.
Morlock said he also considered attending Hope, but has no regrets with the longer journey to Augsburg, despite the bitter cold Minnesota winters.
“It was a little weird at first (because I was the only one on the roster from Michigan),” he said. “But I met all the guys on my visit and we meshed right away. They’ve made it a smooth transition. And I think it also helped that I played right away my freshman year, so that kind of forced guys to be around me.”
Morlock, a Health Fitness/Pre-Physical Therapy major at Augsburg, earned Academic All-MIAC honors last fall after compiling a 3.6875 grade point average. After completing graduate school for physical therapy, Morlock said he’d love to open his own athletic performance clinic dedicated at developing young soccer talent.
“That’s my plan,” he said. “We’ll see if it all works out.”