It’s been soccer, soccer, soccer for Marshfield High School senior Austin Gilbert for as long as he can remember. He is a captain on this year’s squad that claimed its first outright Wisconsin Valley Conference championship.
Gilbert was a first-team all-conference selection as a junior and was second team as a sophomore.
There’s more to him than that, however. Gilbert is going out for basketball for the first time since eighth grade, is on the National Honor Society and started a ping pong club at the school.
Now that you’ve had a few days to let it sink in that Marshfield won its first outright Wisconsin Valley title in soccer, what does it mean to you and the program? It’s pretty special. When you walk into our fieldhouse and look at the conference championship banners there is just one for soccer and that was in 2005. When they put 2013 on the banner, it will be special because I was part of it. I think winning a conference title is important for our program, because it will give younger kids something to shoot for.
There are 60 boys out for soccer in Marshfield. What do think is the cause for the growing interest? The youth programs are getting more advanced and competitive and more kids are playing at a more competitive level and sticking with it through junior high to high school. I think it’s becoming more of a priority for kids to play soccer in high school now than it was in the past.
Is it more exciting to score a goal or assists on a teammates? I enjoy providing an assist to my teammates, but there is no better joy than scoring a goal.
Why do you think soccer is called the beautiful game? I think because it can be so different from game to game. In football the ways to score are kind of the same, but in soccer a scoring play can be so different. One time it can be a header off a corner kick and the next time it can be a scramble in front of the goal. There are pretty goals and some that aren’t, but that’s what makes the game fun and beautiful.
What is your thought on being in Division 2 for the playoffs this year? A lot of the smaller Division 1 teams like ours have dropped as well into Division 2, and there is going to be some great competition, but I like our chances.
What made you decide to play basketball as a senior? I played in middle school and then stopped to focus on soccer once I got to high school. I have a lot of good friends on the team so I thought it would be fun to play this year.
People would be surprised that I __? Started a ping pong club at the school. We play one time a week during the winter months in the commons. There are about 30-35 people and we play on eight tables. We started it last year and hopefully someone will keep it going after I graduate.
What are your plans for next year? I’m going to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., to play soccer for them. I’m not sure what I want to study yet, but I like the area and the school. It’s a Division III school for athletics.