Ken East goalie Becker wears captaincy with pride
“He was talking to us (the coaches) and said, ‘how do you want me to have the guys dress for game days?’” Friedenberg said with a smile. “I said, ‘I’ll leave that up to you.’ He told everybody, ‘I want you to come dressed, wearing a tie, shirt, pants...’ He takes pride in it.”
Safe to say Becker gets it. He sees the whole picture. Becker knows that being a student-athlete is more than just walking out onto the playing field and trying to win.
It’s about representing the school’s name on your uniform. And carrying yourself with class and dignity in public because everything you do reflects onto your school.
“I think in order to play varsity you need to posses that feeling of dignity and representing your school in a positive way,” Becker said after a 2-0 win over Niagara-Wheatfield.
Becker has shown that he lives for the game and Bulldogs soccer. No one on the team takes more pride in a win, no one takes a loss harder and no one is more critical of himself after a bad game.
“Being a goalkeeper you’ve got to be critical of yourself,” Becker explained. “And you have to work your butt off to get better.”
At the core of what makes Becker tick is a strong, competitive spirit. The kind of spirit that not only drives him to demand the best from himself, but also pushes his teammates to give their best everyday, as well.
A vocal leader, it’s not uncommon to hear Becker barking out orders or directing traffic from in front of the net.
“Organization is one of the biggest things in soccer,” Becker said. “I’m way in the back so I can see the whole field. They kind of need me back there seeing everything.”
Becker’s words and actions carry so much weight with his teammates because they know the mutual respect he holds for every one of his teammates and how he puts his heart and soul into every second on the field.
They realize that when Becker calls out or gets on someone, it’s only because he has the best interest of the team at heart. And he isn’t asking them to work any harder than he does.
“They make the choices on captains and they selected him as being one of the captains because they know if he’s yelling at somebody to do something that he’s going to expect the same from himself,” Friedenberg said. “It’s not just him expecting (the best) from other people. He expects it from himself.”
As for the old saying that you have to be a bit strange to be a goalie. Well, Becker said there’s some truth to that.
“Absolutely,” Becker said with a smile. “Definitely a little off beat. But I love it though.”
Bulldogs unique in its intense play
The 2012 Kenmore East boys soccer team is nothing if not unique.
The Bulldogs might not be the biggest team in the Niagara Frontier League, but you can bank on that every player will bring a never-say-die attitude each and everyday.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs in 2012 will be senior goalie John Becker and leading scorer Lorenzo Zaccaria.
Becker gives you exactly what you want in a goalie — a fair chance to win every game. He’s someone who can make the big saves to help a team steal a win or two. But Becker is also the emotional heart and soul of the team and the player who shows his teammates what Bulldog pride is all about.
“He’s a great kid, has a great attitude and he’s a hard worker,” Bulldogs coach Rolfe Friedenberg said. “He demands things from guys and he’s always focused.”
Friedenberg is also very pleased to return three key midfielders in Richie Brinkman, Jordan Fisher, and Matt Cordovani.
“I think they’re going to make a big difference for us this year,” Friedenberg said. ”They’re skilled, good technique.”
Senior Pat Schroeder will also be vital for the Bulldogs this year. Not only does Schroeder bring skill and speed to the field, much like Becker, but he also isn’t shy about voicing his opinions when it comes to everyone doing their best to make the team better.
“We have a good offense. Our offense is working together perfectly,” Schroeder said. “We’re a unique team. We’re not that big, (but) we have a lot of fast forwards including Lorenzo and Ben (Wise).”
Zach Glaspy and Jeremy Woods also return for the Bulldogs while Jeff White, who has played in Ken-Ton travel, makes his first venture into the Ken-East soccer family.
Ben Wise is also back. A raw, physical player, Wise may turn into that wild card player that makes the difference game after game.