For most of his life, Michael Wageman saw himself as a baseball player who also played soccer. Then last fall, the striker headed in the game-winning goal in overtime in a 2-1 victory over Chaska in the Class 1A tournament semifinals. The Islanders suffered their only loss of the season to St. Cloud Apollo in the final, but their achievements already were unmatched in school history.
“I quit baseball and played soccer this summer,” he said.
Wageman talked to staff writer Jim Paulsen about his 2014 memories and trying for a repeat performance in 2015.
How did people respond to your game-winning goal? I remember a lot of shout-outs and attention on Twitter. Looking back during the summer, I realized that not everybody was going to be able to have that experience and to cherish the moment.
Best memory of last season? Either scoring that goal [in the state tournament] or during the regular season, I scored a goal in the game where we won the conference championship for the first time that sent the game to overtime. Those two goals stand out.
Hopes for this year? We lost a lot of senior starters, so the motto we used last year, “Next Man Up” is going to apply this year. We’ve struggled a little bit so far, but we’re working hard to get our team chemistry right and be comfortable with each other.
Are you taking on a leadership role? I’m trying to be more vocal and lead more by example, on and off the field. We’ll have pasta parties and grillouts after games. The big goal is to have fun and make new friends.
How are you a better player now than you were last year? I’m more confident, knowing I played a big role on a team that made school history. I think everybody on a team feels better about themselves when they’ve accomplished something big and important.