Varsity Soccer strikes gold with perseverant captain Justin Neustaetter By Amanda Morse

With a predominantly German heritage, senior co-captain and varsity athlete Justin Neustaetter has always appreciated the sport of soccer as it holds lots of importance in his culture. Growing up, it was an extremely large part of his family. Ever since he was first introduced to playing the sport, he knew it was something special to him that he wanted to pursue.

“It was just something I’ve always been interested in,” Neustaetter said. “My dad enjoyed coaching me and I enjoyed playing it.”

When it came time to try out for high school soccer freshman year, Neustaetter felt prepared. Going into tryouts, Neustaetter aimed to make the JV team as a field player, but came to find out that there were many other competent athletes looking to do the same. After tryouts ended, Neustaetter was cut as a field player, but was offered a different opportunity.

“Freshman year I played goalie on JV. That kind of allowed me to be on the team, but I wasn’t on the team with what I wanted to play—on the field,” Neustaetter said.

Dribbling the ball during practice, Neustaetter leads his team both on and off the field. Photo courtesy of Devon McClain

Although he was not able to play his preferred position of center back initially, Neustaetter continued to work hard to move up. After playing goalie on JV his freshman year, he was a field player sophomore year and eventually worked his way up to becoming a starter on the varsity team both his junior and senior year, according to varsity coach Dave Siracusa.

“Last year he won a starting spot ... I started eyeing him for next year’s captain because of his ability to not lose composure and his teammates would play hard for him,” Siracusa said.

This season, he has started all of their games as a center back leading the defense and has two goals in total, one against Novato and another against San Rafael, according to MaxPreps. His personality allows him to standout as both a captain and a teammate, according to senior co-captain Nathaniel Kuffner.

“[He has] persistence and character,” Kuffner said. “As a whole, he’s a very committed person and he is always working super hard. He runs dead sprints on all of the sprints. He’s pretty much always first and he is just a straight to business, no nonsense type of person.”

Neustaetter's bold characteristics and dedication are what make the perfect candidate for a leadership position.

Although he does not play an attacking position, Neustaetter explained the importance that the back line has on a soccer field, especially when holding a leadership role.

“It helps being defenders because we can see the whole field and relay what we want to say to the team,” Neustaetter said. “Having a strong defense and being able to not let any goals in motivates the team to do better and even just building out of the back.”

According to Kuffner, having played most of the season in the backline together last year he helped coach Siracusa see the impact he and Neustaetter made.

Running during practice, Neustaetter always puts in full effort to try and set the best example for his teammates. Photo courtesy of Devon McClain

“Justin and I were starting center backs and we played pretty much full minutes every single game ... we kind of showed through with having potential leadership opportunities last year because being center backs, you kind of command the field,” Kuffner said.

They both know exactly how to lead the team and through their work ethic, set an example for the rest of the team to follow, according to Siracusa.

“I don't have to push either one of them because they are seniors and they know that the time is running out. We only have three games left in league so I just have to be in their ear and say, ‘Hey you know what, it’s crunch time now,’ and they’ve known that all year I make an example of the seniors,” Siracusa said.

As they head into their last few games in the regular season, Neustaetter hopes to continue leading and pushing his team for the final few times before he graduates.

Heading into the rest of the season, Neustaetter hopes to continue leading his team as far as they can go.

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