On paper, the Pioneer soccer team is built for the future. On the pitch, they are built for the present and a lot of the credit for that immediate success comes from leadership.
Senior William Dormer was all over the field on Wednesday night in the Pioneers’ District semifinal win over Howell. He was playing like it might be his last soccer game in purple, which it would have been had they lost.
But he wasn’t alone in his tenacity, persistence and determination. Every player on the field was playing like it might be his last game even though the roster is filled with freshman and sophomores.
And that’s a testament to leadership. It’s a testament to Dormer, the Pioneers’ captain.
“He’s been a great leader for us,” said Coach Kevin Taylor.
But you don’t need the coach to tell you that. The evidence was on full display Wednesday night. Not only was Dormer up and down the field but he put the game away with the team’s third goal of the night.
“We played pretty well although there were some things we need to clean up but we scored three goals, got the shutout so not too bad,” he said.
Yeah, not too bad.
“At times during the season we struggled a little bit but we’ve been practicing well and working hard. It’s coming together,” said Dormer, a little tired after running around the pitch for 90 minutes.
It certainly is coming together and at just the right time for a team with only five seniors. Taylor has built a club around youth, speed and skill, one that features four freshman and seven sophomores.
Yes, the future looks bright with a young team and a young and enthusiastic coach. The players have bought into not only Taylor’s passion for the game but his great experience as a player, which includes playing professionally.
It also was the way the Pioneers won on Wednesday as they head to Friday’s championship game against Brighton. They hadn’t scored three or more goals in any game during the regular season but the offense was clicking against the Highlanders. Not only did they finish with a season-high three goals in the 3-0 win but they were putting pressure on Howell all night long – it could have easily been 6-0.
“We have a close team,” said Dormer, who is the center of attention as the team’s starting center back. “We obviously have a young team but everyone is learning and working hard.”
As a captain, it’s Dormer’s job to lead by example. Scoring a goal to lock up a victory is a great way to lead by example. He also may have to say a word or two if things get out of control – not that that would ever happen with teenagers.
“I have to watch those young kids and keep them in check,” he said laughing. “For the most part everyone does a good job taking care of what they need to and being ready to go.”
Dormer, who has played two years of varsity soccer, has played club soccer with the Michigan Tigers since he was 7 years old.
“It’s been good for my development,” he said of club soccer. “It’s always good to keep playing as much as you can.”
Dormer says his soccer days are just above over but a District title is all he’s really focused on at the moment. After high school, he plans on going to college.
“Probably Michigan but I’m also looking at a few other schools,” said Dormer, whose 4.0 grade-point average will certainly open some other doors once his soccer door closes.