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SOCCER: Morin signs letter of intent to be a Beaver

Bemidji High School senior Isabelle Morin (middle) signs her letter of intent to play soccer at Bemidji State, starting next fall. Accompanying her for the celebration were (left to right) her sister, Sophie; mother, Eleanor; father, Craig; and brothers, Isaac and Gabe. (Ryan Pietruszewski | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- At the end of Bemidji State youth summer soccer camp in 2009, Bemidji State coach Jim Stone gave a 9-year-old Isabelle Morin a Beavers “future star” award. On Wednesday, Morin signed a letter of intent to play for coach Stone once again, but this time it will be for Bemidji State.

“It’s just kind of fun to see that,” Morin said of the award. “And then to know that he’s still going to coach me now at this extremely better, different level than that was.”

Morin, now a senior at Bemidji High School, posted 16 goals and 10 assists on the girls high school team this past fall. The team won the Section 8A title and earned a trip to the state tournament, and Morin received All-Lakes to Prairie Conference honors.

Stone, who has coached the Beavers since 2002, watched Morin a lot as she grew up because his daughter, Alyse Stone, is a year younger than Morin in the BHS program.

“I’ve been here for quite a while and I’ve been involved with our local soccer (program) for quite a while,” coach Stone said. “I actually coached Isabelle when she was just, I don’t know 8, 9 (or) 10 years old. Somewhere in there. She played on my daughter’s team. I’ve known her and her family quite a while, and obviously we feel like we’re getting a great kid, a great family. She’s athletic, she’s strong, she has a great frame. She has that work rate that we look for, and she’s pretty gritty.”

Morin said Stone first asked about her desire to play college soccer after a summer tournament in the Twin Cities before her junior season with the Lumberjacks.

“He just came up to me afterwards and asked me if I had plans or goals to play in the future, so that was something just to put a little thought in the back of my head,” Morin said.

“...I really wanted to play college soccer, but I never thought in detail of where, or how I was ever going to get there.”

What drew Morin to the Bemidji State program, other than proximity to home and coach familiarity, was how the team has trended in recent years.

“It was evident that they were growing, and the progress that they made this year was insane and it was amazing,” she said. “It was just nice to know that I’m going on to a program that has so much potential to grow.”

Morin is one of 10 recruits to sign NLIs on Signing Day Wednesday, and coach Stone is happy to have her.

“She’ll dig a ball out. She’ll go up for a ball on a corner kick, on a set piece,” he said. “She’s not afraid to be physical. So she’s going to bring a really good physical presence to us, a great work rate. And she’s also really strong in the classroom. Very academic. We feel like we hit a home run.”