When Lucas Molski was 8 or 9 years old, former Pacelli boys soccer coach Sarah Ceballos saw something special in him.
The only problem was getting him to focus so his considerable skill and talent could come out. So she sat Molski down during a Portage County Youth Soccer practice, and gave him a choice.
“I told him to look up the word ‘potential’ and let me know if he understands what it means,” said Ceballos. “He was a basket case and a firecracker, one of those kids as a coach you wonder what do I do to get him to harness that energy.”
Molski came back with the dictionary definition of ‘potential.’
He spent the better part of the next 10 years gaining an understanding of the importance of focus and began living up to his vast potential.
Molski received the ultimate reward Tuesday when he signed a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletic letter-of-intent to play soccer at Viterbo College in La Crosse.
“Ever since I was little I wanted to play soccer in college. It doesn’t really feel real right now,” said Molski, who was joined by his parents Mark and Ann at the signing ceremony in the school. “I’m really looking forward to getting there.”
Molski also has a message to his former youth and high school coach.
“I want to thank Sarah for all the time she put up with my tomfoolery,” he said.
Given a number of option, he narrowed his choices down to Carthage, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Dubuque University and the V-Hawks.
A strong selling point for Viterbo was the outstanding music program at the school, so he settled on the up-and-coming NAIA soccer program to continue his career academically and athletically.
“The drive time (for my parents) isn’t that bad, I like the music program and I have a lot of friends in that area,” Molski said.
He spent his senior season showing off his offensive talents.
In fact, no one demonstrated a better knack for putting the ball in the back of the net. Molski scored a state-high 38 goals and added 14 assists to help the Cardinals to a 19-4-2 season.
While he has received no guarantees and isn’t sure where Viterbo’s coaches will want him to play, Molski just wants to help the V-Hawks make a name for themselves on the pitch.
“Both programs are relatively new, and they have not accomplished a lot and I want to help change that,” said Molski, who will also compete in track for Viterbo. “I know it’s going to be much more competitive and there are going to be people there pushing me all the time to get better.”
His former coach thinks he has a bright future.
“Lucas is one of those kids you can shape a program around,” Ceballos said. “He was one of those kids that had an opportunity to do something in soccer and he’s taken advantage of it.”