On Soccer Field, Versatility Can Be A Mixed Blessing

November 11, 1990|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff writer

It was around 16 years ago that Dave Wisner decided he was too small to play football and instead signed up to play soccer.

Earlier this month, Wisner, a North Carroll High School graduate, played in his final college soccer game for Liberty (Va.) University, a Baptist-affiliated college in Lynchburg.

It was a 4-0 victory over Mars Hill (N.C.) College and marked the end of another fine season for the Division I school, which finished the season with a 12-2-2 record.

It also marked the end of a very steady career for Wisner.

"It felt good in a way, I put in four good years here," Wisner said, "I'll miss the soccer program. There are a lot of seniors, six of us, who came here at the same time and I'll miss their friendship."

"The program has come a long way. We were a Division II team my freshman year and turned Division I the next. This year, we had big wins against Navy, 2-1, Radford (Va.) University, 1-0, and Appalachian (N.C.) State, 2-1," he added.

Wisner's role on the Liberty team was similar to that of a utility infielder in baseball, having played three different positions through the course of the season and a few others in previous seasons.

"I moved him around quite a bit," Liberty coach Bill Bell, in his 11th year, said. "He was always ready, a player I could use any time and he did a great job playing the left side."

In his senior year, Wisner saw action at left fullback, left midfield and left wing -- quite a variety which kept him always ready.

"My first two years (at Liberty) I sat on the bench a lot and paid attention to the different positions where I could help the team," Wisner said.

While Wisner's versatility helped him get valuable playing time, it also may have kept him from settling into one position and becoming a regular starter.

"It was frustrating not being a regular starter and I often felt left out being the only senior not to start. It would have been nice to have one position -- but I felt I had more of a chance of playing and helping the team using my versatility," Wisner said.

Bell agreed.

"He was a good player to have and we're sorry to lose him," Bell said.

"David is a student of the game. He is a touch player who played the game simple and was always communicating on the field."

Wisner gives credit to his high school coach Ed Powelson for his development on the soccer field.

"When I was 6, I went to a clinic he ran at North Carroll Middle and really enjoyed it. (Later in high school) he taught me to think and react on the field and really helped develop my game," Wisner said.

At North Carroll, Wisner started two years at the center defender position.

"He (Wisner) is an unbelievably great person," Powelson said. "He was a 'good as gold' defender who was always at the right place at the right time. He was a very intelligent player who knew the game well and was a great competitor who led by example."

His decision to attend Liberty University came his senior year in high school when he met Mike Montoro of Finksburg, now an assistant sports information director at Liberty, at church.

"At the time, Mike was a student at Liberty and kept stats for the soccer team. He said they lost some seniors and were looking for players," Wisner said.

After talking with Bell, Wisner's decision to attend Liberty was made.

"I like the Christian atmosphere found here," Wisner said of the university. "It has really grown on me and I've enjoyed the friendships that have develop over the years."

Wisner noted an 11-0 win against Tennessee Tech University as his most memorable.

"It was my sophomore year, I got a chance to play center forward and scored. It was fun playing up front for a change," Wisner said.

Wisner, who will be graduating in May with a degree in sports management, plans to go after a graduate degree in sports administration and would someday like to work in the front office of a professional sports team.

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