The Wausau East boys soccer team might be the reigning Wisconsin Valley Conference champions, but if the players are showing little to no pressure about defending the title going into today’s conference opener at D.C. Everest.
The mood was pretty light Monday afternoon, evidenced by how the Lumberjacks’ warmed up for a workout in the school’s weight room with a short dance off to “Teach Me How to Dougie.” In the midst of it all was Zang Chang, a self-professed “team clown,” and one of the Lumberjacks’ three captains this year.
Chang is coming off a remarkable junior season — his first year on the varsity squad — in which he led the WVC with 14 goals and was a first-team all-conference selection.
What did you work on (in the offseason)? What did you want to improve on?
I worked on my shooting and my foot skills, just trying to get better — playing a mid now instead of a forward, it’s going to be different. Just getting in shape.
Talk about having a nose for the goal, or what does it take to be a goal scorer?
Most of the time last year I was just in the right spots at the right time. (Scoring) is about placement, too (on the kick). You don’t always just have to have power.
Do you think teams are going to defend you different this season?
Yeah, teams are going to be different. Last year was my first year of varsity, and now that they’ve seen me play, maybe they’re going to have two guys guarding me instead of one now.
How has your role has changed with the team this year?
I’m a captain, but things are still going to be pretty much the same. I’m just going to work my team harder.
Are you one of the characters on the team?
I’m just kind of a clown on the team. I don’t really do much of getting them pumped. I’m just the clown that they laugh on. But, hey — it’s alright. It’s all about fun, it’s all about fun.
How do you see the conference race shaping up?
There’s not really a dominant team, but there’s teams out there like Marshfield, Everest and Rapids that have good talent. We have a pretty skilled team, and we just have to work together. If we want to win this thing, we just have to focus a lot, get our feet wet and go out strong.