Boys Soccer, Captain Feature, Sports

Captains Feature: Boys Soccer

Peder Bakken ’16

As a returning Upper with two years of Junior Varsity (JV) under his belt, Co-Captain Peder Bakken ’16 earned a spot on Andover Boys Soccer as a starting center midfielder. Bakken has since transitioned into a center back and Captain for this season.

As a Junior, Bakken was on the JV team, where he came off the bench for the majority of the season. A member of JV again during his Lower year, Bakken was called up to the Varsity roster after the JV season ended. He then made Varsity his Upper year.

Although Bakken is only a two-year member of the team, his leadership qualities made him a strong candidate for Co-Captain.

“Peder is a natural leader. He is able to pinpoint where we have weaknesses, who needs help and, most importantly, he is able to address and fix the issues he finds. He also does a very good job of conducting the team on the field,” said Ryan Fischer ’16.

While starting the first scrimmage of his Upper season on the bench, Bakken quickly made a name for himself on the team as a starting center defensive midfielder. After earning the starting job two days later against St. Paul’s, he proceeded to start every remaining game of the season.

Head Coach Will Orben said, “[Bakken] is very aware of the time he has with the team, and he makes the most of it… As a leader, this makes him highly credible because he is walking the talk all the time.”

A four-year Senior from Seattle, WA., Bakken brings years of soccer experience to the team. He has been playing year-round for eight years.

Co-Captain Alex Dziadosz ’16 said, “[Bakken] is very soft-spoken but knows a lot about the game and a lot about how to be a leader. He is a great teammate and extremely supportive towards everyone.”

On the field, Bakken scans the field and skillfully directs the team’s movements.

Coach Orben said, “We have been very focused on defending well this season, and [Bakken] is at the heart of that defense…We have been really strong defensively and this is due in large part to his commitment to that position and to his leadership from the back.”

Coach Orben added, “He progressed really quickly from being a sub at the beginning of last season to a Captain and key player now. He has worked really hard at it and should be an inspiration for many players in our programs that athletes can be made at Andover.”

Alex Dziadosz ’16

Co-Captain Alex Dziadosz ’16 has played an instrumental role in Andover Boys Soccer’s starting lineup since his first appearance on the team as a new Lower two years ago. He hopes to positively conclude his Andover experience with great success this season.

Dziadosz, a midfielder, said, “Before coming to Andover, I had played on many other teams. I starting playing soccer around the age of seven in my town’s local youth program. At that time I played many other sports – baseball, hockey, basketball – but soccer quickly became my favorite. What drew me to the sport was how unique it was, a sport using only your feet: it was like no other.”

He continued, “When I arrived to Andover as a new Lower, what struck me first was the team environment. [Soccer] was more than just a team; rather, it was a family. We ate together after practice, helped teammates with homework – it was very much a bond that extended far off of the soccer field.”

Dziadosz’s tenacity and focus earned him a spot in the team’s starting 11 his Lower year. Since then, he has developed greatly as a player, and his presence on the field has helped to cultivate a stronger team dynamic.

Dziadosz said, “When my first season began, I was one of the youngest players in our starting 11, which was very intimidating at first. But that adversity is what has improved my game so much at Andover. The standard of play that we hold ourselves to as well as the quality of our opponents has done so much to improve my game.”

Head Coach William Orben said, “All of our Co-Captains have developed significantly during their time at Andover. [Dziadosz] has learned to use his high level of skill to be an effective and dangerous midfielder. He is a jovial and creative motivator for the team, and he is also a creator on the field. He always has a smile and brings a good balance to training every day.”

As a Captain, Dziadosz hopes to foster a tight-knit team environment both on and off the field and to lead his team to a successful season by keeping his teammates focused and excited to play.

Dziadosz’s teammates attested to his natural leadership qualities of charisma and positivity, and have the utmost faith in his abilities to fulfill his goals as captain.

Orlando Figus ’16 said, “He’s a great Captain, and I know that he will guide us to the championship alongside our other Captains.”

Brandon Girard ’16

Heading into his fourth year of Andover Boys Soccer and his 14th year playing the sport, Co-Captain Brandon Girard ’16 has high hopes for his final season at Andover.

When Girard was four years old, his family encouraged him to begin playing. Since then, he has become a clinical forward and critical component of Andover’s offensive lineup.

Girard said, “I started playing soccer when I was four years old for two reasons. The first was because my older brother played soccer. The second reason was because of my mom’s constant push for her sons to play the sport. My mom was so adamant that we played because she is Brazilian, and in Brazil, soccer is everything.”

Girard’s speed and sharp awareness have made him both a physical and vocal force on the field.

Head Coach William Orben said, “[Girard] is an attacking force on the field and demands a lot from himself and his teammates. He helps lead the offense and gives us a competitive edge and has learned how to mix his speed with intelligence on the field.”

Morgan Cutts ’18 added, “It really helps to rally around him during difficult times both in games and during practice.”

Throughout his soccer experience at Andover, Girard has grown as a player. Rather than depending on his natural talent as he did when he was younger, Girard said he has learned to develop his skillsets and adapt to his surroundings.

Girard said, “Playing Varsity Soccer as a Junior for Phillips Academy was different in that I could not get away with solely relying on my speed and size anymore. I had to adopt a different style of soccer where I needed to play quick and simple. In my four years here, I have improved almost every part of my game from as simple as my touches to as difficult as decision-making.”

As a leader, Girard hopes to push his team to success.

He said, “As a Captain and forward this year, I strive to help our team make it to the playoffs by improving our team’s attacking force through scoring or assisting goals. I also want to make our team better off for the future, so when I step onto the field for practices and games, my goal will be to always give 110 percent so that I can help my teammates challenge themselves.”

Girard’s teammates look up to him as a guide both as a player and a person and appreciate the effort he has put into his role as Captain.

Newcomer Hayden Weatherall ’18 said, “[Girard] has been very welcoming. He has succeeded in being a good mentor both on and off the field.”

Oct 9, 2015