Junior forward Tom Wiechert of Men’s Soccer, an avid player from age five, has since become one of the biggest offensive threats on the team. With five goals only several games into the season, Wiechert’s execution turned the Liberty League’s head, earning him Offensive Performer of the Week last Monday. This is the second year in a row that the Dana Point, CA native has received this title.
Vassar coaches first noticed and recruited Wiechert during his sophomore year of high school when he was playing in a Florida showcase for the U.S. Academy League. “[They] reached out to me, and Vassar was on my list ever since,” he said. “I came here for Spring Break my junior year and liked the team…I came back my senior year, stayed with Nano [Juliano Pereira ‘14], liked him and had a great time.”
Now, Wiechert is in his third year, and is a Computer Science major. “I was always strong in logic and math, and I was good at French. So a combination of language, logic and algorithms has worked out well. Language is the way the computer reads information and outputs information. It’s the medium the computer works through,” he explained.
As for soccer, Wiechert has been a consistent scorer for the Brewers in the past three years. His freshman year, he scored three goals in games vs. Baruch College, Maritime College and Rennsalaer Polytechnic Institute and one game-winning goal vs. Clarkson University. He also had three assists. He stepped up even harder his sophomore year putting in nine goals overall, four of which were game-winners. With three more assists, Wiechert finished at number one on the team for points with 21.
Senior co-captain and goalkeeper Ryan Grimme acknowledged Wiechert’s skill. “Tom brings a unique offensive threat that is a rarity,” he wrote in an emailed statement. “He offers speed, quickness and size that makes him difficult to defend.” Senior co-captain Evan Seltzer also recognized Wiechert’s goal-scoring ability. “[He] possesses the striker’s cornerstone quality: a penchant for scoring,” Seltzer explained. “The best strikers in the world all have the aura of a ‘goal scorer’ when they step on the field, and he definitely exudes it when he plays.”
The trend has continued into 2013, as demonstrated by Wiechert in the season opener vs. State University of New York at New Paltz. “It was a rough game,” said Wiechert. “The grass was really long, so our passing and defending was not up to par. But in the end we got a couple of good sequences, and I was able to capitalize on some open space.” Wiechert finished the game with a total of three goals, earning his first career hat trick.
“Hat tricks are pretty rare in soccer,” explained Wiechert. “They don’t happen very often unless you are beating a team 7-0. But for us to win 3-1 and for me to have a hat trick is pretty unheard of.” Juliano Pereira ’14 scored the team’s last hat trick one year ago in a game vs. John Jay College.
Seltzer stressed how crucial Wiechert’s hat trick was: “[His] performance last Friday was nothing short of vital, and I can speak for the team when I say we might not have won without him,” he wrote. “While we all played tenaciously, he was the indisputable game-changer; he put the game in his hands and captured the victory for us.”
Head Coach Andy Jennings also wrote in an emailed statement that, “Tom’s performance is what we are beginning to expect from him. He is very athletic and is exceptionally good at getting in behind the back four — all three goals were scored this way against New Paltz.”
In the team’s second game of the season vs. Western Connecticut College, Wiechert had two goals in the second half. Sophomore defender Nick Hess assisted his first goal, and Wiechart scored again thirty seconds later to finish the game 4-0. In Sunday’s game vs. Ursinus College, Wiechert had one goal for the Brewers. Wiechert currently stands in first place for points for the 2013 season with 10.
As for the rest of this season, Wiechert and his team are optimistic. “[Wiechert] has the ability to be the best forward in the league this year,” wrote Jennings. “If he continues to play within himself and with the team, he will achieve that goal.” Grimme also commented on Wiechert’s potential: “I think Tom will have a breakout season,” he wrote. “The New Paltz game will only build his confidence, which will add to his performance on the field.”
Wiechert is aiming high for Liberty Leagues this year as well. “Playoffs are where the competition is highest. Hopefully this year during playoffs I’ll be stronger and have more of an impact…to play well in the NCAAs is a goal,” he wrote.
“Actually, to score in the NCAAs is a better goal,” he added. “I don’t know what the school records are, but I might as well beat them. I should look into those.”