Spring in his step
by Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor
Photos: Courtesy of Michele Spring
Located in a picturesque setting, Allegany-Limestone has been known to produce some really good boys and girls soccer teams. They also have had a few of their players go on to play at the Division I, some right in their own backyard at St. Bonaventure University.
The only problem is know one outside of Allegany County knows about this. This is what happens when you can’t really travel to the ‘Big City” to play some of the others schools in Western New York.
But, the Western New York soccer community is missing something great by not paying attention to the little school up in Allegany County. The Gators this season had a tremendous year, and while they lost in the playoffs to a solid Lackawanna team, they made it known that they can compete with the best schools in Western New York.
While the team has had a lot of success, so has one of its players. They last name Spring is well know around the schools, and county, as Alyssa Spring broke all kind of records during her time with Gators before heading to play her college soccer at St. Bonaventure.
Well, there is another Spring donning the green and white of the Gators as her younger brother, Eric, is making a name for himself. During the offseason, Spring was expected to step up for a team that was looking to have big expectations.
No one knew that Spring was going to have the kind of season that he had. It seemed every time he stepped on the pitch the ball was going into the back of the net. He was scoring goals at a record pace, including a performance where he scored eight times in one game.
“Obviously, I would have liked to have had this breakout last year, but that just didn’t happen as I was playing different role for the team. This year however, I feel that it was expected of me, since I was coming off a good season at Flash and could make a big contribution to my varsity team,” stated Spring. “As a striker, my role on the team is to score the goals, similar to how our defense and goalie’s job is to stop the other team from scoring. Also, my teammates do well in getting me the ball in goal scoring positions.”
Spring isn’t your average goal scorer. He doesn’t like the attention that comes with scoring goals. He doesn’t like to be the center of attention. He would rather just go on the pitch and do his job.
It’s that kind of mentality that has allowed him to have that kind of success. He is a team first player - making sure he singles out the others on the team that are having just the same kind of success as he has had - just in different roles.
“I don’t really like a lot of attention, so that doesn’t really bother me. I just like to play the game and see our team do well,” stated Spring,” “All of my family lives in this area though, so it’s nice being able to have my whole family there to support me and the team. When I am marked by a couple defenders, it just opens up space for my teammates, who are more than capable of scoring for our team.”
While the high school season is over now, that doesn’t mean that Spring is done playing. In the ‘offseason” Spring takes the hour or so drive to Elma and plays, and practices, with the Western New York Flash - the premier club team in the area.
There he can train against the best of the best. He can go up against some of the best players in the area. Spring knows that’s the only way he will get better. It’s also a big commitment for him to make the trek up to where the Flash train and play.
It’s not like he lives around the block. Making this type of commitment, and sacrifice, means doing homework in the car - and not having much of a social life at times.
“Most of the time it is not too overwhelming,” stated Spring. “However, there are times when I feel overwhelmed if I have a lot of schoolwork and am busy with soccer, and there are a lot of nights that I have had to do schoolwork in the car on my way to and from soccer practice.”
Academics is something that Spring takes extremely seriously. He knows his soccer talent along will get him looks at the next level, but that’s not enough. There is more to life than scoring goals in the pitch, Spring wants to make sure he is scoring goals in the classroom as well.
“I feel that the academic side is just as important if not more important than the soccer side of things,” stated Spring. “Ever since I started WNY Flash, I have been told by my parents that I need to keep my grades up in order to keep playing for Flash and I’ve made a point to do that.”
And, if Spring ever needs a reminder about how important academics are he just needs to look in his own house hold. Growing up he looked up to his sister, now he wants to make sure he is a role model for his younger siblings.
“I’ve grown up around all of her success, and now I’m getting to experience a little bit of it myself,” stated Spring. “I also have younger siblings that I hope to be a role model for. We all play together in the back lawn or at the school’s field. My sister has been there to give me advice as I start looking to play soccer in college.”