Before he came to Marquette, Charlie Lyon was always the man in goal. He had never been second fiddle.
As an all-state player in Illinois at St. Charles East High School and also a member of the Chicago Fire Academy team, Lyon is one of the most touted players to come to Marquette.
During his freshman year at Marquette, Lyon tore his PCL and had reconstructive surgery and redshirted.
David Check was the starter then and Keenan Flynn was the backup. That was the first time Lyon had ever not started every game for his team, so he had to adjust to his situation by learning from both Check and Flynn.
“All I could really do was observe,” Lyon said. “One of the things I really watched from them was the level of professionalism they had and the level of consistency they tried to play with every single day.”
In his second season, Lyon was Check’s backup and watched the team have its most successful season under head coach Louis Bennett. As frustrating as it was to not play, he couldn’t help but be happy for the rest of the team.
“It was a big time of personal growth, but it was hard,” Lyon said. “The best part of it was seeing my teammates and my competition, Check, succeed and play well and then lead the team onto the best season it’s ever had.”
The one game Lyon started last season came against Wright State in September. In the first half, Lyon came out to clear a ball from just outside his 18-yard box, and miscommunication with a defender led to a mistake and an easy goal for the visitors. Marquette lost 2-1.
It wasn’t the ideal return to game action for Lyon. As shocked as he was in the middle of the game, he knew he had to continue on and finish the 90 minutes. Lyon finished the game but said that moment hit him hard.
“In that moment, it was kind of like, ‘I can’t believe that just happened. What did I do?’” Lyon said. “That was really tough. I waited for over a year to get the opportunity to play, and here’s my opportunity and I make such a terrible mistake.”
Now, Lyon is the Golden Eagles’ starter and has the faith of his coaches and teammates. Lyon was named Big East Goalkeeper of the Week last week after keeping two shutouts in a week and his third consecutive shutout. He was named the Marquette Student-Athlete of the Week as well.
Bennett noted how Lyon used his time off the field very well and said the unique situation Lyon faced prepared him to be the starter this year.
“He’s turned that time off into positive time,” Bennett said. “There’s not a doubt in his mind that what he’s done and the experiences that he’s had have helped him, which is exactly what we wanted him to do.”
Nick Vorberg is in his first year as the goalkeeping coach at Marquette and has been thoroughly impressed by Lyon’s performance. He has played for the Milwaukee Wave of the Major Indoor Soccer League since 2003 and knows good goalkeeping when he sees it.
From day one, Vorberg was very impressed with Lyon’s distribution and attitude. If he didn’t know any better, Vorberg said he would have thought this was Lyon’s second or third year as the team’s starting goalkeeper.
“I felt like he was playing in the position for two or three years,” he said. “He had a junior or senior type of mentality. He plays that way.”
As a redshirt sophomore, that means there is much more to come from Charlie Lyon.