Former attacker Floersch now defensive stopper
9/25/12 Hinsdale Oak Park-River Forest's Robbie Holmes (18) and Hinsdale Central's TJ Schmidt (5) both go for a header during their soccer match on Tuesday, Sept. 25. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 5, 2012 7:04AM
HINSDALE — Nothing ever stays the same in sports. The nature of the game adapts to new generations, Hinsdale Central coach Michael Wiggins said.
“Today’s player is much different than when I played,” said Wiggins, in his 11th year directing the Red Devils’ boys soccer team. Positions are not hard and fast, but more interchangeable.
“Over the years the demand for the game has changed. You have to be good with the ball no matter what position you play. You have to be able to make a pass under pressure or do a good job in transition.”
Evan Floersch is a primary example. The Red Devil sophomore is, by his nature, an offensive-minded player who plays midfielder for his Oak Brook-based club team. He starts on the backline for the Red Devils, and his impressive transition is one of the reasons Hinsdale Central has flourished.
The Red Devils just completed a very impressive week, going 3-0 with wins over Oak Park-River Forest and shutout victories over Sandburg and Willowbrook. Most importantly, Hinsdale Central is 4-0 in West Suburban Silver play.
Floersch played a crucial role in the 2-1 victory over the Huskies. He scored his first goal of the year on a beautifully curved free kick from about 35 yards that helped the Red Devils overcome a 1-0 first half deficit.
His prowess with the long free kick gives the Red Devils an added weapon.
“Right now, we have the attitude of, even if we get a down a goal or two, of getting right back at it,” Floersch said. “There’s a lot of trust between the players, especially on something like the set pieces, we trust each other and know we are going to make the right decisions.”
His quick assimilation to the backline has also had another significant impact on the team’s growth, Wiggins said.
“He has the qualities I look for in somebody to play back there. He’s a good athlete, strong on the ball and he is calm and composed when he plays. I think what is even more noteworthy is that we have gone with just three in the back,” Wiggins said.
The other starting defenders are senior Ryan Schwarz and junior TJ Schmidt. Senior Harley Pranger is the keeper. The formation has allowed Wiggins to drop another player in the middle, and it has diversified the offensive attack.
Because he has played the attacking positions, Floersch has a good idea how to neutralize those players.
“When you’re a defender, it doesn’t really matter about your foot skills, it is just about toughness, winning the head ball or being the first to the ball, moving around and taking on the forwards,” he said.
Last year as a freshman, Floersch got his first look at varsity competition after he was elevated from the lower level for the state tournament. The experience was crucial.
“Coach gave me a taste, and it was a great learning experience, being around the older players, practicing with them, being in that position and making those decisions,” he said.
Success breeds confidence, and Floersch said the Red Devils are primed to sustain the winning streak.
“I think what has made us stand out is that everybody is on the same page and determined to contribute to the team somehow.
“We are doing whatever we have to keep getting better,” he said.