December 17, 2009 Updated: July 3, 2013 at 9:39 am
Patrick Slogic took his coach’s words to heart last summer, and the payoff was evident this fall.
Mike Goyden told his central defender that he needed to become faster and develop better footwork.
Weeks before practice began at Liberty, Goyden drove past the school. He noticed a tall figure running wind-sprints and working with the soccer ball. It was Slogic.
The 6-foot-4 senior was preparing for the upcoming season — one in which he never got beat 1-on-1 while helping the Lancers claim a Class 5A Metro League title.
“He was great last year, but to me he was phenomenal this year,” Goyden said. “He made the defense look really, really good. He cleaned up everything for us.”
Slogic said he was on the practice field every day last summer. He also worked out with the Colorado Rapids.
“Their speed of play made me a lot better,” he said. “They just don’t make mistakes. You can’t make mistakes or they punish you.”
The Liberty defense yielded eight goals, with six coming on dead balls or turnovers.
“I was really proud,” Slogic said. “We set that goal of no more than 10 goals on the season. I’m glad we lived up to that.”
Slogic’s surprising speed and apparent defensive skills gave Goyden a sense of security.
“He is so valuable on defense, we’ll put other guys up,” Goyden said. “We’ll play numbers down on defense, knowing that Patrick is there. I have that much confidence in him.”
Among the colleges courting Slogic and his 4.69 GPA are Cornell, Air Force, Santa Clara and Bradley. With one sibling a doctor and two others in medical school, Slogic has his academic work cut out. He’s considering studying biological engineering before possibly going to med school — a path that could have a detour if professional soccer comes calling.
“It’s something I’ve dreamt of doing,” Slogic said.