The nationally-ranked Bearden soccer team has found tremendous success this season on the back of a large and skilled senior class, and the Bulldogs have found quite a bit of offensive firepower from one of their best defenders.
Senior Everett Hauser has become an offensive weapon from his fullback position, opening up scoring opportunities for Bearden’s talented group of forwards with dangerous crosses into the penalty box.
Despite being a defender, Hauser is second on the team in assists behind only attacking midfielder and reigning PrepXtra Player of the Year Collin Lewis. The Bulldogs will hope that Hauser can increase that assist tally when rival Farragut visits Friday night at 7.
“Everett is the perfect example of a kid that has made leaps and bounds every single year that he has been here,” Coach Ryan Radcliffe said. “He is somebody that has really taken the time putting in the work outside of what we do every day.”
Hauser has emerged as one of the biggest keys to Bearden’s success and a quiet on-field leader. He has developed into an asset in every aspect of the game, from defending the back line to providing service into the box for Bearden’s forwards.
“He actually starts as a defender,” Coach Radcliffe said. “But really if you watch his play he, as a defender, is one of the ones that generates most of our goal-scoring opportunities from his backline position.”
The Bearden forwards are especially appreciative of Hauser’s passing ability, which sets up countless scoring opportunities.
“One thing is that Collin has always been like our scoring guy, but especially last year and this year, it has been amazing having Everett sending perfect crosses,” senior forward Jonathan Meystrik said.
Hauser’s impact is indisputable, but he is quick to give the credit back to the team as a whole and their ability to play as one unit.
“We keep possession more than most other teams; as long as we have the ball, there is always the opportunity to put a ball through,” Hauser said.
For the senior class as a whole, this year holds significant weight. They know they have to make their senior season count and have felt a new energy within the team.
“The excitement and the rush of wanting to get to state is much more intense,” Meystrik said. “I’ve never wanted so much to go to state with this team.”
So far, the seniors have embodied that spirit and have won all but one game to start the season.
With big wins and difficult opponents, Bearden has been preparing themselves for state and hope to keep that momentum going into the second half of the season.
“The biggest thing is staying consistent when we are playing well, because if we are able to keep putting three to four goals in the net every game, it is pretty easy to stay winning,” Hauser said.
The seniors also feel a certain responsibility to lead this year’s team and take ownership of their success.
“Previous years, you never feel like the top dog on the team,” Meystrik said. “But this year we are the oldest people on the team, and we are in charge of leading this team to state.”