Talented freshmen make varsity, prepare for their first playoff games

Ian Foy '21, Staff Writer

Varsity sports at South are some of the most elite teams in Michigan. Very rarely, freshmen can make Varsity, and it takes something special to be able to do this.

Will Johnson ’22 is the only freshmen on Varsity football this year and Michael Tengler ’22 is one of two freshmen on Varsity soccer this year. They both were very excited to hear that they had made Varsity.

Freshmen on Varsity play with and against players four years older than them. Johnson was not intimidated by this fact.

“I’ve been playing with older kids most of my life and when I’m playing I don’t really notice,” Johnson said.

Johnson has received some positive guidance from some of the older players on the team. Specifically, captain Ryan Downey ’19 has helped Johnson to succeed.

“The captains try and adapt him to the culture of the program,” Downey Said. “We realize that it is his first year in the program so we have to show him the stuff we do: how we lift, practice, and our game day mentality and we are almost like a big brother to him until we know he gets what the program is all about.”

Johnson is very appreciative of his captains and coaches helping him to adapt to the South Varsity football program.

“This season is going well for me,” Johnson said. “My teammates and coaches have helped me a lot and made it easy for me to make the transition.”

As for Tengler, he was a little nervous stepping onto the field throughout the beginning of the soccer season.

“I felt a little nervous because I feel that they expect me to play at their level,” Tengler said. “Since this is my first year on South soccer, I didn’t know what to expect when I got out there.”

Photo by Ian Foy
Michael Tengler ’22 warms up for an important practice the day before South’s district playoff game against Fordson.

Captain Matt Moran ’19 believes Tengler is a great addition to South soccer and deserves a spot on this Varsity team.

“He has a few seniors and returning Varsity players in his position so he hasn’t played every game and I think he’s learning a lot,” Moran Said.“He’s been a great teammate and when he gets in he works very hard and does well.”

Downey thinks that being a freshman shouldn’t be a factor in deciding a Varsity team. He says that if a player has the skill, he deserves to be on the team.

My initial reaction is ‘is he good enough to be here’,” Downey said. “Once I figure out that he is on varsity for a reason, he is just another one of the guys. “

Moran agrees with Downey. Every year he is prepared for freshmen to make Varsity, as he was a freshma n on Varsity once also.

“What we’ve done the past three years is look at the younger kids during the summer and report back to coach so he can look out for him,” Moran said. “If they make it, it is because they deserve it no matter their age because they’ve shown us skill in the summer.”