| March 17, 2018

Soccer: Business On The Soccer Field

May 5, 2016

Idaho soccer midfielder Elexis Schlossarek made a name for herself in the Big Sky Conference last season, sparking the Vandals offense after scoring four goals and providing seven assists. a spark for the Vandals last season after scoring four goals and providing seven assists.

The junior currently ranks eight in program history with 11 assists, but said she doesn’t reflect on her previous marks, but on helping to team excel on the field.

“You have to look at it as a different season to build off what you did last season,” Schlossarek said. “There was some great accomplishments last season but that’s out of my head. It’s more about the future and I’m definitely working towards being a better player than I was in the fall.”

Idaho head coach Derek Pittman said Schlossarek’s influential leadership helps bring out the best in her teammates.

“Elexis is an inspirational leader and she’s a passionate player,” Pittman said. “I believe her teammates respond very well to how she plays. When she scores a goal — it doesn’t happen very often because she’s not a forward — but she did score some key goals for us during her career.”

Schlossarek netted the lone Vandal goal in the Big Sky postseason championship against Northern Colorado Nov. 8. Idaho would eventually fall to the Bears in penalty kicks 3-0.

Schlossarek said she has focused on becoming more helpful to the team than she was last season.

“My main focus is being with the team, about being about the team and encouraging people to be better,” Schlossarek said. “I’ve been trying to lift people up and pushing players past their limits.”

Pittman said the team’s drive stems largely from Schlossarek’s contagious love of the game.

“The team rallies around her because she plays with such passion and emotion,” Pittman said. “They really feed off from that enthusiasm she has on a regular basis. She leads in other ways in regard of how she plays. When she scores goals it’s always a huge bonus because it definitely lifts the team up.”

The junior said the team has been doing well this spring, despite a five-month period with no soccer.

“We’re still trying to get back into the (feel) because it has been since November when we last played a big game,” Schlossarek said. “Getting back to the routine has been difficult.”

Pittman said Scholssarek possesses a variety of skills on the pitch, making her an incredibly versatile midfielder.

“The one thing Elexis brings to the table is that she has good vision and got good awareness on the field,” Pittman said. “Once she has the ball in the midfield and has the opportunity to start our attack, she’s very good at passing.”

Pittman said Schlossarek has routinely provided key plays for the team.

“She’s involved in a lot of our attacking the play because we trust her with the ball,” Pittman said. “We trust her ability to create opportunities for our team to score. Those are just attributes that ultimately led to her having so much success in the midfield for our team.”

Schlossarek, entering her senior season with the team, said she has learned to embrace each moment and as a midfielder.

“Every single day I work my hardest because I know I’m done after this upcoming season,” Schlossarek said. “I know that I’m not going to play soccer at a high level again so this is it. I want to make the most out of every single day that I have left.”

She is currently majoring in business with emphasis in operation management and finance. Schlossarek said she has a passion for the competitive world of business, and has been thinking about her professional career.

“Taking the experience that I’ve had right now and working hard every single day, I can see how that’s going to pay off for my future,” she said. “I use soccer as my example all the time of how I’m building myself for my future and the skills that I’ve learned about leadership, time management and how to be a teammate.”

The junior said she felt honored when her team was recognized by the North Idaho Hall of Fame as the Team of the Year.

“We did make huge strides last season,” Schlossarek said. “I will never doubt that success and I’m so proud of my team for what we have done this past year. I was amazed to get that award, it’s just such an honor.”

Luis Torres can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @TheLTFiles

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