WISCONSIN RAPIDS – As a varsity soccer player since her freshman year, Wisconsin Rapids senior Jamie Vanderhei has noticed her improvement in her skills, so had Raiders coach Nate Cleveland.
“Jamie has been a utility player for us, so she’s played a lot of positions,” Cleveland said. “She’s seen action at so many positions on the field that she has a great field of vision that she’s developed through the years.”
Vanderhei used to do other activities growing up, but gave them up in eighth grade to focus on soccer.
“She’s played with the Point Select team and been in big games with us so she really is the only one on the team with big game experience,” Cleveland said. “We have a young team, so she’s going to be doing a lot of leading by example.”
What are your thoughts of taking on D.C. Everest in your Wisconsin Valley Conference opener? I think it’s a good way to start our season. They will keep us on our toes. We’re going to stick to our game plan and see what happens. They’re good, but anything can happen. We beat them in double overtime last year and we weren’t expected to.
Is it a burden being the only senior on the field this season? It’s tough because a lot of people are looking to me for leadership. I’m going to do as much as I can for the team, but we have a lot of other good leaders too, so I don’t think it will be too bad. (Senior Megan Charette is out for the season with a knee injury).
It’s early, but what have you learned about your team during the first two games? It’s a lot different than last year, but that’s not a negative thing. We have a young team with a lot of new people in new positions. People are learning new positions, so the next few games we’ll be figuring things out and then should be able to execute our plan.
How much different is the high school season and playing on the PCYS Select team? It’s not that different. We play different teams during our Select schedule. In the Valley we play the same teams every year. We practice every day in high school and two or three times a week for our Select team. We play higher caliber teams in Select soccer, but for the most part, soccer is soccer.
How have you improved individually from playing on the Select team? I think I see the field better than I used to. Coach (Nate) Cleveland thinks I have improved working the ball up the field and setting up plays and scoring opportunities for my teammates.
Even with such a big goal, why is it difficult to score a goal? There are a whole bunch of factors. To start with, there’s pressure when you get a chance to score. For me, I have a lot going through my head. I think about where to kick it, how hard and when it’s a point blank shot, you’re expected to make it, so there is a lot of pressure.
What are a few things you want to accomplish by the time you’re 30? I want to graduate from college and have a solid career. I want to be married, I think. No matter what, I hope to be happy.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people: That I’m an outdoor girl. I love hunting and fishing and just being outside. I also figure skated for the majority of my life. I started when I was five and I stopped in eighth-grade so I could play soccer full time. I did win nationals one year and that was a big goal of mine.
What are your biggest fears and have you tried to overcome them? I’m afraid of the dark and snakes and I haven’t really done anything to overcome my fears. As far as being afraid of the dark, I’m fine in my house, but we live in the country, so being outside in the woods kind of freaks me out.
Mark Massoglia can be reached at 715-423-7200, ext. 6736. Follow him on Twitter @markmazzy.
School: Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln
Family: Dad, Ron; mom, Laura; brother, Danny
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Spaghetti
Favorite class: Sociology
Favorite athlete: David Beckham
Favorite team: Green Bay Packers
Android or iPhone: iPhone
Early bird or night owl: Early Bird
Spring, summer, fall or winter: Summer
Pulp or no pulp in orange juice: Pulp.