By Angelica Melara
The SUNY Plattsburgh soccer team is filled with many members who are driven to win and work hard. One of the athletes that shows his dedication to the sport on and off the field is sophomore criminal justice major Cole Weiner.
Weiner started playing soccer the moment he knew how to kick a ball.
“My parents signed me up for it, and ever since I was younger, I’ve just continued playing,” Weiner said.
Coming to Plattsburgh as a freshman, Weiner was able to jump right into his collegiate soccer career.
“Everything about the team and athletics have been great, and I can’t really imagine myself anywhere else right now,” Weiner said.
One of the many reasons why Weiner chose Plattsburgh to continue soccer was because of head men’s soccer coach, Chris Taylor.
“He was a great recruiter, he was a great coach, and I love playing for him,” Weiner said.
Taylor explained that on his recruitment visit, Weiner was a great person to visit because he was not shy and quiet. He is a person that asks a lot of questions and shows his personality.
“He is definitely very comfortable with himself, and he’s a big time joker. The greatest thing about Cole, I believe, is that he can laugh at himself,” Taylor said.
Taylor was able to see who Cole was during his recruiting process.
“He was open and honest and wasn’t afraid to ask difficult questions about himself as a player,” Taylor said. “Weiner wanted to know why he was wanted as a player on the team, and once he got here, it was easy for him to make friends.”
“He’s not afraid to strike up a conversation with anyone. He’s very outgoing and immediately settled in,” Taylor said.
“When I went on my recruiting visit before freshman year, all the guys on the team, most of them are still here now, they were great. They were welcoming, and I felt like this was home before I even enrolled,” Weiner said.
Taylor said that Weiner is very comfortable with himself and doesn’t try to be anyone else and because of this he is able to connect with other members of the team quite easily.
Something that Taylor has had to help Weiner understand is that the question is not “How can I succeed?” it’s “how can we succeed?” During a conference game against Geneseo last season, the men’s soccer team was losing 1-0 with 18 seconds left on the clock.
“The ball kind of dropped to Cole,” Taylor said. “I think four to five weeks earlier he would’ve just tried to take the shot himself, but he listened to what we’d asked of him, and he took his time and slowed down.”
Weiner then made a pass across the box for someone to tap into an open goal, which tied the game with 18 seconds left. The team ended up winning in double overtime with 10 seconds left, and it changed the season.
“We only lost one game after that, but that moment was a testament to Cole’s ability to get better,” Taylor said. “A moment in which most people would have panicked, he executed that extremely important moment, which became a testament to Cole’s ability and drive to get better.”
After the last season ended, Weiner told his coaches that he wanted to do better, even though he was one of the top goal scorers as a freshman. Weiner came back and noticeably put effort into his physique.
“He’s toned up, he’s lost a little bit of weight, and he’s probably in the best shape of his life right now because he’s got an unbelievable drive to be better,” Taylor said.
Someone who has helped keep Weiner motivated is senior, health and wellness major Luke Rapaport. When everyone was sent home because of COVID-19 during the spring 2020 semester, Rapaport helped mentor Weiner. He was able to help Weiner change the way he ate, along with the way he exercised in order to help Weiner transform his body into the way he wanted it to be for the upcoming season.
Rapaport said that Weiner reminds him of himself. He’s an outgoing person.
“When he was a freshman, I was a junior and we brought the new kids in and kind of mentor them,” Rapaport said. “He was the kid that I always had around, and I’ve always liked him.”
After Weiner brought it to Rapaport’s attention that he wanted to get in shape, Rapaport started giving him advice on things that might work for Weiner.
When he first joined the team, Rapaport said that Weiner seemed a bit immature, but as time went on, the team realized he was outgoing, a hard worker and an intelligent person who showed leadership qualities.
“He’s always on top of his schoolwork and likes to motivate other members of the team,” Rapaport said. “He has a bit of a leadership role already, and he’s growing really fast as a person and really stepping into who I think he’ll become.”
When it comes to training, the team still tries to train together, while maintaining social distancing. When he is not training with his team, Weiner trains alone.
“[Training] is probably the biggest aspect with everything that’s going on. It’s about staying on top of yourself so you don’t fall behind when the season starts back up again,” Weiner said.
“I want to see him take over this team. I want to see him become the main guy while also obviously doing well in school,” Rapaport said. “But as for the team, I want to see him step up and take a leadership role.”
From a soccer perspective, Taylor said that he has high hopes for Weiner.
“He’s got potential. Physically he’s got some traits that we can’t teach, but we hope that we can continue to refine him and continue to make him a great all around player, and I just hope he gets better each year,” Taylor said. “Each year just makes it better than the last, and you’ll have a good career. He’s got great resilience and determination and if you have those types of human qualities you’ll be successful in life, and Cole has a lot of skills that will make him a successful person.”
Although he is only a sophomore, Weiner said that once his time at Plattsburgh comes to an end, he would love to continue to play soccer, but would also like to do something in the criminal justice field because that is where he feels he can make the biggest impact on other peoples’ lives.