For most seniors, life after high school can be filled with anxiety.
It’s no different for Eli Troutman of Ocean Springs.
After leading the Greyhounds to a South State title and a runner-up finish in Class 6A, Troutman was named Mr. Soccer on the Clarion-Ledger All-State team for 2012-13. On March 18, he leaves for Denmark in hopes of landing a professional soccer contract.
How’s that for a senior trip?
“I’m pretty nervous,” Troutman said. “I want to go to the next level. I had the opportunity to go last year but I passed up on it.”
In Denmark, he’ll spend eight months training with the Esbjerg Football Club.
At some point during that time, Troutman’s life-long dream of landing a professional contract could come to fruitition.
His senior year went about as well as he could have hoped.
Troutman finished with 24 goals and 13 assists, both career highs.
“He has the ability to take over a game,” Ocean Springs coach Jeff French said. “Even when he’s marked, he still had the ability to excel in difficult decisions against the best competition.
“He couldn’t finish the (state) final in the state championship…but he was still the best player on the field.”
For French, Troutman’s real gains this season can’t be quantified on a stat sheet.
“He’s matured a lot,” French said. “By that, I mean in his ethics or his work at practice and his responsibility to his team.
“He knew that just because of his caliber of player he was, that that meant he was a role model and needed to exhibit that on the pitch whether it was in practice or in games.”
Troutman said adding the title of “role model” wasn’t that much of a stretch.
“My mom always tells me that I have to be a role model for the younger kids,” Troutman said. “So it wasn’t that weird for me. I’ve been the captain for my select team for a few years, so it wasn’t that much of a difference.”