Michaelis strives to be top soccer player

Michaelis+strives+to+be+top+soccer+player

By Mark Slette

Staff Writer

Austin Michaelis

When you cannot find junior forward Austin Michaelis on the soccer field, more often than not, he will be dominating his teammates while playing Super Smash Brothers Melee at home.

Oddly enough, Michaelis’s playing style strongly resembles the form of his favorite video games.

“It’s a certain feeling that I get when I’m out there playing,” Michaelis said. “I love being on the field with my teammates. I want to have the ball, to score and win. Playing with them, together, is just so exciting.”

However, high school and club soccer, as well as his spot as a midfielder on the Coppell Cowboy lacrosse team, dominate his daily schedule.

“Austin is a two-sport varsity letterman, as he has played lacrosse and soccer since his freshman year,” head soccer coach Chad Rakestraw said. “He has ton on his plate, takes  several AP classes. He’s a wonderful kid with good character. He’s so busy with things. For him to stay focused, to stay committed and be able to do all of it is quite impressive.”

Michaelis, a captain for this year’s defending Class 5A state champions, is a natural leader on and off the field. Even the veterans on the team are in awe of how he plays.

“He’s definitely a motivator on the field,” senior forward Chris Madden said. “He knows when he needs to take charge and rally up the team, especially the underclassmen. [Alot of his teammates] look up to him.”

Michaelis’ journey began when he was 5. His father, Randy Michaelis, first signed him up for the sport. Mr. Michaelis, a former five-sport athlete in high school and a top collegiate soccer recruit at San Jose State University and Cal Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo, knew what it took to play to the game and had a feeling Austin would excel.

Having high hopes in his son, Mr. Michaelis began showing Austin the basics and fundamentals of playing soccer. He then took on the task of becoming Austin’s coach. Starting in a recreational league, he coached his son from kindergarten to seventh grade. Over that time, he saw Austin grow quickly as a player.

Not only did Austin learn and pick up the game quickly, according to his dad and teammates, but with his natural competitiveness, always wanting to be the best in anything he does, he excelled in playing soccer.

As Austin’s love for soccer grew, he continued to play more and more. Austin knew he needed to be challenged, especially, if he wanted to steadily improve his soccer skills. That next step was signing up for club soccer.

Austin is now in his third year of play for the Andromeda Football Club, a competitive select club soccer team in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that competes around the country. Similarly to the high school team, Austin also plays center attacking midfielder.

Many of his teammates also play high school and club soccer. Junior midfielder Colton Clark sees Austin’s role as a leader carrying over onto the club team.

“He has the same attitude pretty much,” Clark said. “Most of it is leading by example. He has vocal skills, too. He’s a very hard worker, and just like I said earlier, when you see someone working hard, you follow them and do what they do.”

Working hard and polishing his skills on the club team, he drastically improved as a player and earned a spot on the varsity team his freshman year.

“It’s always fun to see him run by people because he’s so fast,” Clark said. “A couple games ago against Jefferson, he had a 60 yard sprint, where he ran just about the whole field, past all the defenders and scored a goal.”

The Coppell soccer program has left an imprint on Austin as he has become a leader on and off the field.

“[Austin]’s an athlete,” Madden said. “He’s slowly learning and becoming a true leader for us and for the team. He’s definitely a motivator on the field and in the locker room. He’s a great teammate.”