First and last, Liberty looks to Foote Senior is captain, last line of defense 1993 Carroll County high school soccer preview

September 07, 1993|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,Staff Writer

Liberty senior Travis Foote got his introduction to varsity soccer midway through his freshman season.

The Lions, short-handed after a string of injuries, were playing county rival North Carroll. Coach Lee Kestler called on Foote to fill the void at sweeper, and he's been there ever since.

"We had five starters out with injuries at the same time, and it was really tough," Kestler said.

"The JV coach and I talked about who would lend us the biggest hand, and our clear-cut choice was freshman Travis Foote. We really threw him to the wolves, going up against North Carroll, but he held his own."

Foote, one of three players to start as freshmen at Liberty, plays much bigger than his stocky, 5-foot-4 frame. He thrives on the pressures of being the last field player back on defense.

"The sweeper position sees the entire field, and my job is to direct things out there much like a quarterback in football," Foote said.

"Being the last man back, I know they have to get through me to score. I like it that way."

Hard-nosed, consistent, aggressive and smart are adjectives that come to Kestler's mind when discussing Foote's play over the past four years. Last year, Foote was first-team all-county, and he keeps getting better as a year-round soccer player.

"He does everything that needs to be done at that position," Kestler said.

"I don't think you can ask for more intensity when it comes to taking to the field. He's all business come match time."

One thing that sets Foote apart from a lot of other high school sweeper backs is his ability to handle the ball and find open teammates. Three years with the Olympic Developmental Program have helped give him an edge.

"It's really helped a lot, playing with and against such a high level of competition," Foote said.

"We [Liberty] have a lot of guys like Kevin Henderson and Jason Dunbar, who can really handle the ball, so I do my best to play it to their feet. I like nothing better than finding a teammate and starting a play that finishes with a goal."

The Lions have been regular participants in the region playoffs and would like to advance to the state semifinals and final. Kestler says it will all start with Foote, the Lions' captain.

"He's the heart and soul of a solid group of seniors this year," he said.

"He's the guy who keeps the nuts and bolts separated when they need to be separated. He's well-respected by his peers, and that helps immensely."

Foote likes the Lions' chances this season and sets high goals for himself and the team.

"We have a lot of team leaders out there, and we've all grown up together and played together," he said.

"I'm just looking to help the team as much as possible and do whatever it takes to win. Basically my thought is if the other team doesn't score, we can't lose. Our main goal is to win states -- win the whole thing."

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