by Olivia Lehman and Olivia Ligman
The AIR (Amherst, Iola, and Rosholt), joint soccer team is having a great playing season this year. They are currently undefeated, with one tie, and recently won second at Conference. This is in stark contrast to some of their previous playing seasons, as last year the team was defeated nine to zero at playoffs last year. What makes this year different?
“We have a lot of people that work in the offseason and play summer league ... most of us have been friends for a while and have played together before and understand how each other work,” explain team captains, Jackson Glisczinski and Isaac Winkelman.
Fellow captain, Luke Wright, agrees, saying, “Our work ethic has gotten a lot more positive, everyone is trying harder, and we’ve learned how to even each other out with the right players in the right places.”
They are coming together more as a team, and it’s apparent in their loss-free record this year, and their place as number one seed in the Wisconsin Central Conference. Although they have more than 15 victories just this season, it doesn’t compromise the team mindset. No one player can be said to have won the games; it’s a team effort.
The leadership is also a seemingly big part of why this season is going so well for the team. Coach Erik Linde appointed four captains, Wright, Winkelman, Devin Toth, and Glisczinski. “I chose Luke and Devin right away. But after a couple practices I saw the kind of good leadership Jackson and Isaac were showing so I had to add them, ” says Linde.
“We really do have a strong core of good leaders,” Glisczinski adds about leadership in the team.
Captain Toth concurred. “Yeah, our captains and leadership group are such good role models, and set a great example to the underclassmen for becoming great players.”
The players themselves feel that they, overall, have improved individually as well. They use each player’s specialties and abilities on and off the field.
“It’s awesome to have so many threats on the field so that if you mess up there’s someone there to not mess up. Jackson has always tried to be a good leader and puts forth the effort and time. He’s one of those guys who’s always there when you need him, both on and off the field. The competitive leagues really shaped him to be an amazing player,” Wright explains.
“And Isaac’s not afraid to tell people what to do and when to do it ... he knows when enough is enough but makes sure there’s a positive vibe amongst the team and does a really good job at reading the field and the people on it,” he elaborates.
When Wright is asked about the team’s goalie, Toth, he says, “He’s an absolute stud. I’ve had the privilege to play with him through Jensen [Center Youth Soccer League] and all throughout high school. I think he’s improved the greatest out of anyone on the team and is definitely one of the best goalies in the conference.”
Toth has been quite the stellar goalie this year, true to Wright’s description, directing the defense from the net and significantly improving from last year. “Last year we played a lot more of an individual game, but we’ve learned to compliment each other and work together. We keep possession a lot more, keep the ball more controlled, and the defense has better judgement,” he says.
As of October 9, junior offensive striker Carson Sneller has been ranked in the top ten in the state for points. Over the course of fourteen varsity games, Sneller has managed to rack up 40 goals and 13 assists. He’s also bestowed upon himself the job of hyping up the team before games. “It kinda just happened. I just like to get the guys going, raise their spirits and rile them up.” And he regards his teammates highly, it seems. When asked what he attributed to his success in the goal, he modestly replied with “It’s the passes that make the play. We play well together, we play as friends.”
Linde certainly thinks his boys have come a long way in the past few months. “They’re a lot more confident than they were. We found success early on in the season, and that really boosted their confidence. We started winning and the whole mentality became a lot more positive and supportive. I’m probably most proud of the teamwork and overall unselfishness and how the players are all finding their roles on the field.”
With the team coming together more as a team, the leadership providing a strong foundation, and supportive coaches, this year has proven to be a great one for AIR Soccer. The team has certainly had a great season, and hopefully will continue to, this year and for many to come.