A tough break on the field

New soccer varsity captain’s season sidelined by injury


Jordan DeMario

In light of his injury, Sophomore Bryson Vail reflects on his presence on the team and ways he can still support his team while not being able to play. “This injury has made me feel like I need to be more of a part of the team on the bench than on the field and [with] that I have been able to support the team on the bench just as much as I have been able to in the past on the field,” Vail said.

In a state of shock, sophomore Bryson Vail limped away from the soccer field after colliding with a teammate. One week after making history as the first sophomore team captain on the men’s varsity soccer team, Vail broke his leg and diminished his playing time for the season during the annual senior practice.

Vail was unaware of the extent of the injury that put an early end to his season.

“No one thought it was broken; I was on the ground, I was in shock. I hobbled off the field but whenever I got to my car and we got to the emergency room, they told me it was a bad break. It was all an accident,” Vail said.

Although Vail cannot be on the field, his injury does not stop him from helping out his team.

“It’s really important that the guys on the sidelines are just ready to play when they have the opportunity. As a second or third string player where somebody doesn’t see the field as much, you need to be in the right mindset when you get on the field so you can appropriately impact the game,” Vail said.

Despite only a sophomore and his injury, the team agreed Vail would be the best fit for the position of captain because of his inspiration and ambitious work ethic.

“Everybody kind of felt indifferent about my position being captain because I think I’m one of the people on the field that speaks up the most whenever it comes to a time whenever we are down or really need motivation. Everyone was able to agree when it came to that point,” Vail said.

Vail’s accomplishment in becoming captain proves age doesn’t determine success in achieving his position, but it is leadership and communication skills.

“I don’t really want to toot my own horn at all. What qualities that make me a good captain would be leadership, I’m loud, and I’m demanding but not in a patronizing way,” Vail said.

Vail’s main contribution is his advocacy for verbal communications during games or on the sidelines to improve the team’s performance and bonding.

“It’s mostly just getting everyone to speak up on the field, one of the main things our team struggles with is talking. One of the roles I had taken was to make sure if we are ever down a goal or if we are not playing as good as we can be, I just hold everyone accountable,” Vail said.

Vail takes pride in helping out his teammates no matter if he has to do it sitting on the sidelines.

“I like helping the team. If a bad play is happening they will come to me and say ‘okay, how do we make this better’. That makes me feel really good because knowing these guys, they are more my friends than my teammates,” Vail said.

Shiloh Tisdale, coach of Wando men’s soccer, had no doubt that Vail would make a perfect captain.

“He purely led by example. He’s the first sophomore I’ve ever had selected as a captain, but I said before captains were even picked, it doesn’t matter what grade you are. It’s just, we need a leader out there. And he was leading by example,” Tisdale said.

Tisdale searches for effort, leadership, dedication and positivity when choosing the third and final captain. Vail made his decision easy by displaying all the qualities Tisdale was searching for.

“They’re a good player, they’re going to be on the field that they are positive, they are going to be one of the hardest working players on the field. Also that they have that comfort level with me if there’s an issue that they feel they can come and we can discuss any situation that may come up,” Tisdale said.

It does not matter whether Vail is on or off the field, his position as captain remains the same. In fact, Tisdale finds his injury to be an inspiration for the team to play harder and become closer.

“It’ll be a motivator. When you’re out with an injury, he can use that as a reminder for all the other players that can play right now. That they could be in his shoes right now where they don’t have that choice,” Shiloh said.

Along Vail’s side is senior Ian Goldberg, his fellow captain on varsity. They work closely together to lead everyone to be friendly and respectful towards one another.

“We are very good at rallying up the team and building up chemistry and making sure everyone talks to everyone. If there’s jokes that are passed around, we make sure everything’s taken lightheartedly and just make sure everyone really has a good time,” Goldberg said.

In spite of the fact that Vail is on the bench for his injury, Goldberg found it opened up new opportunities for other players to work harder for a place on the field.

“Him breaking his leg was a big, big setback for our team because he was one of the key players on our team but it’s given a chance for a lot of other kids on our team to step up and show their ability and try and get that spot,” Goldberg said.

It is not his skill that determines how good of a player Vail is, but it is his openness and support he offers to his teammates.

“Everyone likes him. He’s very outgoing and he’ll talk to you if you ever need to talk about anything so he’s just he’s always there. He’s always there for you. That’s what makes him really good,” Goldberg said.