Volume 92, Issue 16

Wednesday, September 30, 1998

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Captain my captain

Photo by Tom Baumgartner

By Chad Thompson
Gazette Writer

The sport of soccer has been quietly gaining popularity throughout the world.

With each World Cup, the popularity of the sport grows – so it is not surprising that behind the hype of football, Western soccer has slowly been building a championship-caliber team.

An important cog in the wheel of the Mustang soccer team is co-captain Mike Potts. A Toronto native who played for the Ontario Provincial team in the 1994 National Championship, Potts is playing an important role for the team in their drive to return to the national championships.

"Mike is very skillful as a player," said Western head coach Rock Bassaco. "He has great vision on the field and great ability. He shows leadership by example and is also very vocal but he is always positive to his teammates – never negative."

Very high praise for a player who had no real plans to play for the soccer team when he came to Western.

"I wanted to take a break from soccer for a while," the two-time Ontario University Athletics all-star said. "I didn't try out for the team until two games into the season of my first year."

The third-year kinesiology student went on to say the team looks very good this year. "We have a lot of new faces filling in spots of departed players. Hard work is the key to the team's success."

The hard work is paying off as the team has posted a 4-1-1 record, on pace for another championship season.

With five starters leaving from last year's OUA championship team, Bassaco has looked for Potts to step up both his play and his leadership on the team.

"We have expected Mike to step up on and off the field and he has," Bassaco said. "We are pleased with Mike's play and leadership."

Potts takes his leadership role on the team very seriously believing that a leader should be vocal.

"I enjoy people looking to me for leadership and I enjoy taking a vocal role and getting the team excited to play," he said.

On a campus where football is the number one sport, Potts said he feels the profile of soccer is improving.

As far as the pressures of being a student athlete, Potts feels there are more positives than negatives. "I enjoy the recognition of being a student athlete. I don't really feel any pressure."

Bassaco sees Potts' composure under pressure "as an asset" which aids in preparing and focussing the team to play.

Potts hopes that after graduation he can get into the chiropractic or physiotherapy field.

For now, however, his sights are set on this year and his goals for the season are for the team to return to the national championships and improve on last year's sixth place finish.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998