The high-scoring senior forward has scored 18 goals for the Episcopal Academy boys’ soccer team (13-0-1 as of Wednesday morning). Last fall, he was a first team All-Inter-Ac and All-Main Line soccer selection, scoring 10 goals for an EA squad that started its season with a 14-game winning streak. Off the pitch, he is a member of the Architecture Club and Bee Club at EA. Next fall, he will play soccer for Colby College, where he plans to study computer science.
Q: Tell us a little about your start in soccer, and what sparked your inaugural interest in the sport. What position(s) did you originally play? Do you have a favorite position, and if so, why?
A: I started playing soccer when I was four years old. I would watch my older siblings play and hoped that someday I would be as big and fast as they were. I have switched between being a defender, midfielder, and forward throughout my career. I started playing center forward full-time when I was 14. Center forward is my favorite position as I enjoy being a part of every attacking play and taking on defenders.
Q: What is your sharpest memory of this season to date – if it’s a play, can you describe how the play developed, and your memory of it?
A: In our game against The Hill School, we were tied late in the second half. After they fouled us just over the midfield, we played the ball quickly to our right back, Tristan Whitaker, who played a great ball to our right wing, Xander Lotsis. Xander played a ball from about 25 yards out across the box. I was even with the defender on the back post and had to throw myself at the ball. I was able to hit it with my knee into the back of the net.
Q: As a key scorer for EA, how do you see your leadership role on the team? Can you share with us an example of where you exercised that leadership?
A: I lead by example as a goal scorer with an attacking mentality and style of play. Fortunately, I also have teammates that push me to play my best. Although I have scored many goals, our success has been a result of our team chemistry and every player’s contribution.
Q: Who have been your biggest soccer mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each of them?
A: My dad has always been my mentor since the first day I played, whether by being my youth recreational coach or driving me to practices and games. The most important thing he has taught me is to settle my nerves and frustrations before and during the game, as he says, “play without thinking.”
Q: What do you think is the strongest aspect of your game? What part of your game are you working on the most currently?
A: Finishing with both feet has always been the strongest aspect of my game. I am working on my ability to score off headers given my height (6-foot-3). I also believe it is important to continue to improve on all aspects of my game because a player can never be too good at any one skill.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-game preparation the day of a game.
A: I try to keep my pre-game routine the same every time in order to get into the right mindset. After getting at least nine hours of sleep the night before a game, I eat eggs and spinach for breakfast, a lean protein with healthy carbs for lunch, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. I also have a pre-game juggling routine to get my touch ready for the game.
Q: Who is your favorite soccer player, and why?
A: Wayne Rooney has been my favorite since I was young. He has always been faster and tougher than his opponents and has inspired me to play the same way.
Q: What uniform jersey number do you wear? Why did you pick this number – does it have any special significance to you?
A: For school, I chose 10 because it was the number Wayne Rooney wore for the majority of the time he played at Manchester United. For my club, I have been wearing a multiple of three since I was 10 years old.
Q: Is there a career path that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: I would like to have a career as an application developer for computers or phones.
Fun facts – Samuel Wilson
Favorite book: Ender’s Game.
Favorite author: Dr. Seuss.
Favorite TV show: Westworld.
Favorite movie: Ratatouille.
Favorite athlete: Gareth Bale.
Favorite pre-game pump-up song: Chimes by Hudson Mohawke.
Favorite team: Manchester United.
Favorite place to visit: Aruba.
Favorite pre-game meal: Spaghetti and meatballs.
Person I most admire, and why: “My brother, Josh. He is kind, resilient and caring.”
Family members: parents Bob and Nancy, brother Joshua, sister Kathryn.
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)