Steinhilber scores big in senior soccer season
Senior two-sport athlete and captain of the varsity soccer team, Noah Steinhilber has proven himself a crucial first team player for this year’s undefeated team. Steinhilber’s dedication has led the West varsity soccer to an undefeated regular season record and now on to a first seed in the playoffs as one of the top teams in the nation. While Steinhilber has excelled in both soccer and basketball throughout his high school career, this year, the senior has been recognized for both his success on the soccer team as well as his work ethic and leadership. Head varsity soccer coach Matt Callahan has seen his player evolve from hard times and adversity to great success.
“Noah has grown a lot over the years. His freshman year, he broke his collarbone during tryouts, so he didn’t get to play much of the season,” he said. “Every year since then Noah has gotten better and better as a soccer player.”
The perseverance with which Steinhilber overcame his injury also influenced his growth as a teammate. Bouncing back from his setbacks, he used adversity as a springboard to improvement and growth into a better person. Junior Michael Schmidt, a teammate of Steinhilber, has looked up to him for the past three years of his career.
“Stein is a leader on and off the field because he’s always a hard worker, he makes smart choices, never doing dumb things and all of that connects to being on the field,” he said.
Callahan is not only proud of Steinhilber’s leadership to younger players but has also loved watching him grow as a person over the years.
“Noah is a great person on and off the field. He is very genuine and caring, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for him,” he said. “He helped organize the team in the off season which has helped our program a lot. The younger players should definitely look to Noah as an example.”
Such personal strides have inspired Steinhilber’s teammates to follow his lead through hard work and dedication, which has led to a season full of dreams come true.
“This team has incredible unity and a bond that has been previously missing,” Steinhilber said. “Our strong connection has been built through years of playing together on the club circuit,” he said.
Through this year’s skill and team chemistry, along with a resulting undefeated title, Steinhilber believes that winning a state championship is a very possible opportunity.
“I think that going to state is a very realistic goal that we can achieve through hard work and commitment,” he said.
On top of Steinhilber’s outstanding success for the team, he has also grown as an individual and as a leader, both physically and mentally.
“On the field, Noah has great technique, makes good decisions, and is very athletic,” Callahan said. “Noah has scored some great goals this year, and he is also great at getting back and helping us defensively.”
Though proud of his own accomplishments looking back on the past four years of hard work and dedication, Steinhilber believes his growth was only possible within the context of the team dynamic.
“I have grown in size and matured,” he said. “I also adapted to the style of play and I have developed my skills to work in the high school game and be successful on the highest levels.”
With a strong, goal-oriented mindset, every game is important to the team. Steinhilber’s faith in his teammates provides the foundational mentality for winning that will be very important come the playoffs.
“Every game [is important]. There isn’t one that sticks out because every game is as important as the next for me,” he said. “We have been able to find a different way to win in each and every game, and that has made us more dynamic, which will be priceless come playoff time.”
Having a good environment to practice and play in is crucial to a team’s success, especially with positive team leaders setting the tone for the all-important practices that set the table for game time.
“Noah is a great teammate because he’s a super involved, fun guy, who likes making jokes, which makes everyone have a fun time and makes the whole team environment a real cool one,” Schmidt said.
With college around the corner, Steinhilber is unsure of where his future in sports will take him but is still leaving the option open.
“I currently have no plan to play in college, but things could change if opportunities present themselves,” he said.
As Steinhilber’s senior season comes to a close, he keeps up his positive impact on the team and pushes himself as the days go on. The Wildcats have their first regional game tonight at Titan.
Schmidt is truly inspired by the way Steinhilber impacts not only the team’s mentality, but the air with which they carry themselves.
“Noah impacts the team by obviously being really good but also he’s elite,” Schmidt said. “He brings that swagger, you know; he stays cool, letting the whole team just roll in peace.”