Going for the Goal
Everyone knows that a good team starts with good leadership. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Andrew Blatner, the captain of the Apex High School varsity soccer team. We discussed everything from being a good leader to inspirations to a recent injury.
Name: Andrew Blatner
Sport: Varsity Soccer
Position: Captain and goalkeeper
What got you into playing soccer?
My dad and brother played it my entire childhood. For a while, I was never really into it, but I played with them anyway. When I was nine, though, I suddenly started loving it, not sure why.
What is the hardest thing about playing a sport? What is the best part?
The hardest part is probably balancing school, sports, and a job. The best part, it’s fun! There is also something special about playing for the school; there’s a sense of pride.
Will you play in college?
No. Playing a sport is a big time commitment, and there will be so much to adjust to already that I don’t want to add more to my plate.
Do you have an inspiration that you look up to? Do you have a quote or saying you like?
Tim Howard. He was the US Men’s National goalkeeper, for virtually my whole life. He retired this year. As for a quote, that’s hard, probably “talent without hard work is nothing.” I don’t remember who it’s from.
What would be your ultimate achievement this year?
Winning the state championship. It would be hard, but that would be the ultimate thing.
What does your practice schedule look like?
I practice six days a week, for at least two hours each day.
I heard you had a recent injury, what happened? How are you doing?
In the game against Holly Spring, I dove for the ball and landed on my shoulder. I injured some muscles and tendons that affect the movement and my ability to play. It took me two weeks to reach full recovery while I was playing. I refuse to miss practice or games, so I played through it.
How does playing a sport affect your classes?
It depends. Sometimes it’s harder to keep grades up. I spend a lot of time working on my sport, and if we lose, I lose motivation to do what I need to do. On the other hand, it makes me feel good over all, which helps in class.
What is your greatest strength? Your greatest weakness?
My strength is my leadership and work ethic. My weakness is that sometimes the nerves catch up to me.
How do you cope with stress and pressure?
I’ve been playing soccer for the school all four years, and this is my third year playing varsity. The pressures don’t feel the same; I have the experience now. That said, the Apex Friendship game next week is vital to our season, and that is nerve-wracking. When you play a sport, you are always learning how to cope with new situations because you have to.
How do you feel you impact your team?
I think I have a positive impact on the team. My leadership skills and my experience help both on the field as an individual and as captain. I’m fast on my feet, which you need to be- literally and figuratively! I also feel I bring a lot of positive vibes to the team. We have a younger team this year than in the past, and negative energy can grow from the stress. I try to fight that.
Do you have a final word of advice for up-and-coming athletes?
Work hard. The best players are the ones who work the hardest, not the most naturally talented.
Andrew Blatner is a well-rounded student and a dedicated athlete. He loves his sport and his team. It was a fantastic opportunity to sit down with him and get to know more about his sporting career.