Story by Josh Zans
College soccer players play harder, run faster, are stronger, and play better. But, none of that matters to former tiger soccer players Clay Stanger, Jacob Chiarelli, Matt McDevitt, Ryan Ruble, and Lizzy Simonin.
Clay Stanger, graduating class of ‘07, now plays soccer at Baker University home of the wildcats. Clay wanted to play soccer in college for multiple reasons.
“I love the game and I thought of it as the next level and I wanted to see how I would do,” Stanger said.
Jacob Chiarelli, from the graduating class of ‘07, also plays soccer at Baker University and wanted to play for one reason.
“I didn’t want to quit playing soccer,” Chiarelli said.
Head Coach of men’s soccer at Baker University Nate Houser had many positive comments about Stanger and Chiarelli.
“Clay is an outside midfielder, who brings speed and hard work to the team,” Houser said.
“Jacob is an attacking mid who is developing into a very special player,” Houser said.
Stanger and Chiarelli’s hard work and sense of humor make having them on the Baker team a pleasure to coach.
Stanger chose Baker because the small campus, relatively close to home, got scholarship to play and good atmosphere. Chiarelli chose Baker because Stanger and Chiarelli bring many qualities to the team that makes them good soccer players.
“Clay is vary fast and physical. He is always learning and adapting to the game. Clay also has a very good temperament, he rarely gets rattled.”
“Jacob has all the tools to become an all-American type player; size, speed, superior skills and work rate. He has made a great leap forward this year,” Houser said.
There are many big changes when making the transfer from high school soccer to college soccer. A few changes are the level of competition and the training as well as the coaching and how much time you put in to the sport.
“Level of competition has changed greatly, the training and fitness is way more intense and hard and everyone is a lot bigger, stronger, faster, so I have to work harder to try and keep up,” Stanger said.
“It is a much faster game,” Chiarelli said.
“Coaching and training, besides really intense and hard, I would say high school coaching is more of a friendly basis between players and coaches but in college it is a stronger relationship bond,” Stanger said.
Stanger has many season goals as well as career goals. Chiarelli would like to make the national tournament.
“This season I just hope to get as much playing time as I can, and give my all for the team to do as well as we can. My career for soccer most likely won’t go past college, but if the opportunity arose I would play,” Stanger said.
Playing soccer in college may sound good to you but you also have to remember you are in college to further you education for your future. Almost everyone knows that academics come before athletics. So it’s important to have to find a way to balance the two and make it work.
“Balancing all of my activities is really hard to do, there is always so much going on but if you set your priorities straight, go to class and work hard, everything seems to work out alright,” Stanger said.
Even though Stanger and Chiarelli have all these great skills and talent they still have some areas they need to improve in to make them stronger soccer players. Also the coach expects more out of them in the next couple of years.
“Clay is working very hard on his speed of play and the technical side of his game. Given his physical gifts, he is moving forward quickly,” Houser said.
“Jacob needs to continue playing confidently and solving problems,” Houser said.
As far as what the coach expects out of them in the next couple of years he expects them to become leaders of the team in work rate and responsibility.
Matt McDevitt, is from the graduating class of ‘08, and now plays soccer at William Jewell College. He is currently starting at outside left mid and he sometimes plays outside right mid or forward. McDevitt wanted to play soccer in college for three reasons.
“To represent a school and get my education, and aspirations of going pro one day,” McDevitt said.
Matt so far as a freshman has been making a big impact and Coach Chris Cissell had a lot of great information to share.
“Well so far in his freshman year he’s been fantastic, he’s been able to come in as a freshman and start right away on a very good competitive team,” Cissell said, “It is very difficult to come in as a freshman and start on a varsity squad.”
The deciding factors for choosing a school for McDevitt were the environment, campus, people, and how far away from home. The level of competition has changed in a couple of ways for McDevitt.
“It is a lot faster paced, you have to be able to get to the ball and distribute it, unlike high school where you can dribble all day,” McDevitt said.
The coaches expect a lot out of McDevitt this season and throughout his career.
“We expect him to be able to play and contribute as a freshman and we expect him to work hard everyday in practice everyday in training and have a good attitude,” Cissell said.
“Each year his role will grow more and more in greater importance for us to be a goal scorer,” Cissell said.
McDevitt has many has many goals for the season as well as for his whole career. He would like to finish in conference, and then go to nationals in Fresno, California. He aspires to play professional soccer here in the United States or in another country. The coaches at William Jewel recruited McDevitt because they saw him play for the high school and for his club team.
“We defiantly thought he was one of the top players if not the top player in the city, Cissell said.
McDevitt compared had a good response to how high school soccer is different from college.
“The training sessions are a lot more intense, you are always on the ball. High school was aimed more towards individuality and college is all about “the team”, we consider ourselves a family,” McDevitt said.
As far as what the coaches expect out of McDevitt there out his career there are many things.
“We definitely expect him to continue to get better. Expect him to work hard and we want him to have fun. We wanna make sure he graduates we wanna make sure to help him academically and to help him with his degree and to do everything as soccer coaches to help him as a person to grow as a person to,” Cissel said.
McDevitt has a method to how he balances school and soccer. He makes sure he is prepared for every training session which involves getting his school work done first. He takes two hours out of everyday and dedicates them to school he says as long as you do that and read a lot you will be fine.
Ryan Ruble, another member from the graduating class of ‘08, now plays soccer at the University of Memphis and is currently playing forward and sometimes outside midfield. Ruble wanted to play soccer for two reasons.
“I wanted to play soccer in college because I have been playing my whole life, and because it helped cut the cost of college,” Ruble said.
Ruble chose to go to Memphis for multiple reasons. He really wanted to play in division one and he also wanted to go to a school were he could do both soccer and architecture. Head boy’s soccer coach Dave Wiebenga helped Ruble decided on a school to attend for soccer. Ruble explains how college soccer is completely different from high school soccer.
“We play for 2 hours then have a 30 minute lifting session with our trainer. The work outs in high school dont even compair to college. You also have to watch video of games you played in order to improve. The coaching is actually pretty similar, wiebenga is a great coach,” Ruble said. “The game is faster, and perfection is demanded every time you get the ball. The players are faster, stronger and way more skilled then in high school. The type of training you have to do in college is not only more physically demanding but also mentally,” Ruble said.
Lastly Ruble explains how he balances academics and soccer.
“Balancing soccer and academics is very difficult because in college both are so demanding. We have study hall on the road to help us keep up with school,” Ruble said.
Lizzy Simonin also from the graduating class of ’08, also attending the University of Memphis. Lizzy is currently playing outside forward and wanted to play soccer a Memphis for three reasons.
“I wanted to play soccer in college because soccer is what I love. Memphis has a great soccer program and I wanted to continue my soccer career there,” Simonin said.
Coach Brooks V Monaghan III had many great comments about Lizzy and her success so far at Memphis.
“She is an unbelievable kid she is a coach’s dream, because anytime you want her to do extra work she’s there with a smile on her face. She comes to practice everyday and gets the job done, you never hear any ounce of complaining out of her she’s just a baller,” Monaghan said.
“She is quiet she has got comfortably with the team. She has come out of her shell and her real personality has started to shine. She has a special personality and her competitiveness has started to show as well,” Monaghan said.
Simonin had three deciding factors on choosing a school those include education, campus, coaches and the girls.
Monaghan expects a couple of things out of Simonin this season as well as in the future.
‘‘We expect her to score goals we want her to have the hunger to win the game for us. She can put the team on her shoulders and help us win games. Shes got one of the best shoots on our team. We definitely set the standard of her becoming an all conference player for sure. I am very confident she will get there because of her work rate and her personality just the type of person she is. She is gonna be in the spot light for all four years,” Monaghan said.
Simonin explains how the level of competition is much greater then high school. Division one soccer is faster, quicker and stronger, she was able to adapt to the change. She also stated that Coach Wiebenga and Monaghan have very similar coaching strategies. A couple of reasons Monaghan recruited Simonin is because he is good friends with Wiebenga. Monaghan also watched her play and he mentioned how she takes the sport seriously and she is going to be big time for Memphis.
“She loves the game she loves the competition and she wants to get better and she will do what it takes to get better,” Monaghan said.
Simonin has many goals for this season and also tells us how she balances academics and soccer.
“I want to win championships while I am here. We are aiming for the conference championship and we want to make it to the NCAA tournament. Personally, I want to make the All-Conference team at the end of the year,” Simonin said.
“Everyone supports you with academics and soccer. I have a lot of help when it comes to academics. I have a counselor who keeps up with my grades and we have mandatory study hall where I can do my homework and get help. Sometimes its a struggle when we are on the road and we have to miss class but it all works out in the end,” Simonin said.
Wiebenga is the boys and girls soccer coach for our school. He explains what it was like to coach all of the above players and what qualities made up the players.
“It was awesome good kids, good soccer players. As far as the qualities that made up those players they include a lot of skill, a lot of heart, a lot of determination anything and everything you could want in high school soccer players,” Wiebenga said.
Our soccer team currently has many players that could play at the high school level.
“The team now is very reminiscent of Ryan Ruble’s senior year team. The big difference is there a year younger,” Wiebenga said.
A lot of work and conversation goes into getting players up to where they can be recruited. Players and coaches have many conversations with Wiebenga about what they want to study, what their grades are, and where they are interested in going. Wiebenga makes it work for the player and their family.
Stanger, Chiarelli, McDevitt, Ruble, and Simonin are experiencing immediate impact as freshman and sophomores. The level of competition and game speed have changed but their success is the same.