Published: October 17, 2013
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Being versatile is a key ingredient in the life of Old Forge senior Christian Mozeleski.
In addition to being a captain for the soccer team this year, Mozeleski has added duties in football, where he is the kicker. In the winter, the senior hits the slopes as a snowboarder, which may be his favorite activity of all.
“I guess I like snowboarding best,” Mozeleski said. “You can only do it a couple of months of the year, so I look forward to it. Soccer is something that can be played all year round.”
Since it is the fall, before the snow starts to fly in earnest, Mozeleski is doing his best for the Blue Devils on both the soccer and football fields. He added football to his list of sports this year, getting used to putting on shoulder pads and helmets for the first time in his varsity career.
“It’s been busy, doing soccer and football. I’m the kicker,” Mozeleski said. “I practice two times a week, or whenever I can. I thought I could do a good job. I’m still learning every time I’m out there.”
He doesn’t have as much to learn on the soccer field, an area he has been very familiar with since he began playing at the 8-and-under level a decade ago.
The skills he has already developed enable him to play just about any position, a luxury that Old Forge soccer coach Chet Lenceski appreciates having.
“I wish I could have him two more years,” said Lenceski, who is in his second year in charge of the Blue Devils. “It’s going to be a long thought-out process [deciding how to replace the multi-talented Mozeleski] over the next couple of months.”
The senior doesn’t mind bouncing from position to position, mindful that all his moving around is done with the intent of doing what’s best for the team.
“I go where he [Lenceski] tells me,” Mozeleski said. “We’re trying a lot of different strategies.”
Most of the formations Lenceski puts together usually have Mozeleski somewhere in the middle of the field, whether it is on offense or defense. This way, Lenceski can put his best player in a place where he can have an impact on either the left or right side of the field, relying on Mozeleski’s instincts to make the right play.
“He’s versatile,” Lenceski said. “He’s been at center forward, center mid and sweeper.”
“I’ve played a lot of defense and a lot of midfield,” Mozeleski said. “
I think I’ve played everywhere except goalie, and that’s not my forte.”
The switching of positions all the time could negatively affect a player, disrupting a routine, but Mozeleski takes it all in stride.
“I practice all the different positions, so it’s usually a smooth transition,” Mozeleski said. “When it happens, I like it because it changes things up.”
All his movement on the field has added a great deal of skill to Mozeleski’s game, and it has also given him a greater insight into what makes a good player.
“It gives me a better all-around perspective of the game,” Mozeleski said.
Right now, Lenceski has the senior at sweeper, the last line of defense in front of the goalie, and is happy with what he sees.
“He’s a tremendous sweeper, one of the best I’ve ever seen,” Lenceski said. “He plays well to the ball, is an excellent defender and is a leader.
“Because of the level of the competition he’s up against, he has the ability to read the play as it develops, makes excellent decisions and plays the ball up the wings.”
When he plays at center midfield, the senior’s passing ability sparks the offense, able to pick out an open teammate and get the ball to the player. Mozeleski’s endurance allows him to cover most of the field as a center mid.
Up front, his dribbling and hard, accurate shot pays dividends when he’s looking for goal.
“They all have little things that make them different, but they are all equally difficult,” Mozeleski said. “They are not much different, they all need the same skills.”
But if the senior had his way, he knows where he’d like to play most.
“I like forward. Scoring is more fun than defending,” Mozeleski said.
He doesn’t allow that desire to get in the way of his play.
“We started him at midfield for the first four games, but now he’s playing sweeper,” Lenceski said. “He’s got the great ball-handling skills and strikes the ball well.”
After all that praise, Lenceski still hasn’t gotten to what Mozeleski thinks he does best.
“I try to make good decisions. I like to play smart soccer,” Mozeleski said. “My teammates trust me.”
Lenceski couldn’t agree more.
“He makes good decisions,” Lenceski said. “He’s a team player, always works hard to distribute the ball.
”That’s why he was selected as a captain.”