The Plattsburgh State men’s soccer team has many standouts on the roster this year. One in particular is junior midfielder Ian Spear.
The third year player and first year captain has learned a lot during his time with the Cardinals while playing for head coach Chris Waterbury, as well as Spear’s father, assistant coach Geoff Spear.
“It’s been a great experience,” Spear said. “The coaches and all of my teammates throughout the years, it’s been awesome playing with those guys and learning more about the game of soccer.”
Spear has been playing soccer ever since he was little, a popular sport among children. However, by the time Spear got to middle school he knew this is what he wanted to keep doing beyond middle school and high school.
“At a very young age I knew I loved soccer,” Spear said. “Once I hit 12 or 13 years-old, seeing the college guys on the field, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Spear mentioned the importance and convenience of having his father as coach for PSUC, as well as for his previous teams in the past.
“You can’t ask for anything more than to have your dad be a college coach,” Spear said. “He has a lot of experience and has always helped me throughout the years, and has coached me for probably fifteen years now, so it’s been pretty fun.”
Despite only being named captain prior to the start of this season, Spear is no stranger to the leadership role that being a captain entails.
“Being a leader on and off the field is big for me,” Spear said, who was a captain on his Peru high school soccer team. “I think that my hard work has paid off. I got the captain role this year and I’ll be going after it next year, and I hope I get it.”
Waterbury has nothing but high praise for Spear, noting how he is consistent in his play and work ethic and how he is a strong cornerstone for the Cards.
“His game as a player doesn’t surprise me,” coach Waterbury said. “His leadership has really helped his playing, and with the combination of the two we’re really happy with where he’s at right now.”
With Spear being one of the nine juniors on the team, he has noticed how his class as a whole has grown a lot together over the years, and how not only will this year be an important year for them as upperclassmen, but how next year, being in their final year, will be the last year to leave their mark.
“It makes a difference when you go through your freshman year together,” Spear said. “I think that all of the guys in the junior class now are closer than ever. Everybody has grown together, as individuals and as soccer players, it’s great.”
Spear knows that his impact will be important when it comes to boosting the younger guys on the team, giving them confidence much like the guys Spear played with when he was a freshman.
Freshman goalkeeper Kiernan Kirby is included when it comes to the impact Spear can have on someone’s play and work ethic, regardless of the position they play.
“He’s always talking, getting everyone hyped up,” Kirby said. “When he’s off the field, he’s always cheering, screaming, after a hard tackle or yelling after a goal.
This year is definitely an important one for Spear, as next year will be his final season for PSUC.
“Him being a captain this year is really good for him,” Kirby said. “Him being a senior next year and a captain, he’ll be one of the players we’ll look at to lead the season.”
Looking forward, the Cards have a tough lineup of SUNYAC opponents on their schedule before the playoffs begin, which Spear can use his playing history against conference teams.
“I think it’ll help quite a bit,” Waterbury said. “Spear is a very physically strong player and a hard competitor, and SUNYACs is all about bigger, stronger, and faster; and two games in 24 hours can be physically demanding but I don’t expect anything different from him.”
This means that the SUNYAC experience among Spear and the rest of the upperclassmen will be vital in order to control these matchups against tougher opponents when the games matter more.
“We’re very cautiously optimistic with our start right now,” Waterbury said. “The meat of the schedule is still ahead of us.”
Email Ezra Kachaturian at email@example.com