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From Collingwood's soccer fields to ironman pro in California

'I've played almost three years in a row without coming off the field. That's 75 games now,' says Morey Doner, who started soccer at four years old with Collingwood United

Morey Donor got his start in soccer with the Collingwood United Soccer Club as a four-year-old boy. 

Now he's an unstoppable force in his third year with the Monterey Bay Football Club.

The professional soccer player, from Nottawa, made history by being the first ironman with the California team. He played every minute of every game in the 2023 season. That's 90 minutes of play per game for 34 games.

"It's unusual for someone to play so many games in a row because there are typically injuries, suspensions and other factors that come into play. It's a testament to his play and how well he takes care of his body," said Monterey Bay's Head Coach Frank Yallop,

The defender joined the Monterey Bay Football Club when it formed under the United Soccer League Championship (USLC) in 2022.

"I've played almost three years in a row without coming off the field. That's 75 games now," said Doner, 30.

He eats well, gets good sleep, and looks after his body with workouts, stretching and massage.

"I'm very strict in what I do ... You have to take care of your body and listen to your body," Morey said.

"I haven't been on winning teams in terms of championships, so personal accolades like ironman is something that is really special," he said.

Doner said he loved playing soccer with the Collingwood Club and with his friends in local parks.

"It was a really big part of my childhood. I made a lot of friends and there's still people I keep in contact with today," Doner said.

He played rep soccer in Collingwood until the age of 13. Seeing his natural talent, his parents Gary and Janne Doner put him in a private soccer academy in the Toronto area and drove him there four times a week.

In 2016, he joined the Aurora Football Club and played with the team through 2018, when he become captain and played every minute of every match on his way to earning a League 1 Ontario All-Star selection.

The 5'8", 152-lb player became a professional with the York United Football Club (York9) in 2019 for two seasons before being picked up by the Halifax (HFX) Wanderers Football Club for the 2021 season. Both teams are part of the Canadian Premier League.

Success hasn't come easy for Doner. He's faced adversity both in his personal and professional life.

"I didn't sign my first professional contract until I was in my twenties. A lot of people start when they are younger but I've always had people tell me that 'You're not good enough' and that I might be wasting my time, even my parents, but I never stopped believing. I've wanted to do this since I was a young kid," he said.

The sadness and disappointment he felt with setbacks didn't diminish his desire, it made him hungrier and more determined to be successful.

"I like to write down my goals. I think you need to know what you want first. If you don't know what you want, then you are wasting your time.

"You have to believe in yourself and don't take 'No' for an answer."

To be successful at anything, you have to trust the process, take disappointments in stride and make sacrifices, said Doner.

"If soccer is something you want to do, then you need to put everything into it," said Doner.

Putting 100 per cent into every game is what Doner is known for.

"I try to play every game like it could be my last because you never know," he said.

In 2023, Doner recorded 37 tackles, 34 clearances, 28 interceptions and nine blocks. He also added two goal and two assists and earned USL Championship Team of the Week honours twice.

Coach Yallop said Doner "is a relentless runner up and down the flank. He gives good service into the box. He gets forward really well. Overall, he has good one-v-one defending ability and puts in good crosses in the final third . . .and he's a fun character in the locker room."

What's next for Doner? He has one more year in his contract and then he says he will be open to new opportunities.

"I still have lots of goals and ambitions I want to accomplish. I want to play in Europe and Asia before I retire."

For more information about Doner, visit his X account: @moreydoner3 or the club's website:

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Gisele Winton Sarvis

About the Author: Gisele Winton Sarvis

Gisele Winton Sarvis is an award winning journalist and photographer who has focused on telling the stories of the people of Simcoe County for more than 25 years
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