Wood’s Last Kick

Senior Spencer Wood’s inspiration came from his older brothers, who introduced him to soccer and shaped his athletic journey.
Wood’s Last Kick

Finding role models and inspirations while growing up and playing sports is not a rare case. Micheal Jordan, Walter Payton, Joe Burrow, Simone Biles, Lionel Messi and many more are common trailblazers that most young athletes cherish; however, senior Spencer Wood he finds his encouragement through his older brothers. 

Growing up, Wood found comfort in soccer. When he was just six years old, he would watch his older brothers practice and play games all the time. He got to know the former head coach of the Antioch Community High School soccer team, Marni Polakow, just by cheering on his brothers. Wood agrees that being surrounded by the game for so long also influenced his decision to play. 

Wood played for a travel team in Lake County for about seven years, then continued his soccer journey in high school, making new friendships and learning new skills along the way. Wood’s childhood consisted mostly of constant competition with his brothers and wanting to be the best; his older brothers, Jason and Daniel, are now 22 and 27 years old. 

Jason Wood grew up admiring his older brother, Daniel, so when Spencer completed the family, Jason always tried his best to imitate Daniel’s actions to help guide Spencer through the treacherous ways of life. Jason and Spencer were always going at each other’s throats despite his efforts. They had a terrible relationship until Spencer’s freshman year of high school. 

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“When I would try to mess around with Spencer when we were a lot younger, our parents would protect him,” Jason said. “Because of that, I was always pissed because I could never teach him the lessons that Daniel taught me.”

Once they all grew up and matured, they created a much stronger bond than the previous years of Spencer’s life. While going through the awkward teenage phase that everyone endures, Jason always tries to offer Spencer his wise words of wisdom, being that he has gone through most of the complicated things Spencer has undergone. 

Jason agrees that with getting older, asking for advice becomes more comfortable. For Jason, never wanted to seek his older brother’s guidance for his problems; however, now he seeks advice from Daniel about his personal life issues. With Spencer being more reserved with his feelings and thoughts, Jason can only hope he has set a half-decent example for Spencer to emulate.

“I have wanted to be able to provide the same access and advice Daniel offers me to Spencer if he ever chooses to take me up on it,” Jason said. 

Since soccer was always the most exposed sport to the Wood boys, they all felt like it was a natural fit. With their Costa Rican heritage, instead of rooting for the United States in the World Cup, you can find the Wood family cheering on “Le Sele,” the national Costa Rican soccer team. Through soccer, the Wood boys have all learned about commitment, self-discipline and mental toughness. 

“I think that I have a lot of leadership when it comes to certain things,” Spencer said.  “I have a big voice when certain events are happening. The younger kids on the team like freshmen and sophomores are shy because it’s their first year and they don’t want to get hated by the rest of the team, but they should have a voice. When they do, it shows that they can actually be leaders too.”

Maddie Lyon, boys varsity soccer coach, advocates that Spencer is always willing to motivate the team, even when they are down in the dumps. When senior year comes along, it’s easy for many athletes and students’ motivation to slip; however, Lyon agrees that Spencer is onto his best year yet. With his position being center back, Spencer takes control of the field. Having a loud voice is necessary for his role, as well as not being scared of telling people where to go and what to do. He brings enthusiasm and a great outlook for his final season and is a very impactful player to the backline. 

“He’s motivating to the underclassmen which is really awesome to see,” Lyon said. “His soccer knowledge is great and he is always wanting to better the team.”

With no strong desire to play soccer in college, Spencer would not trade the memories he created with his sport for anything. Spencer found his inspiration within the people closest to him. It is hard to imagine a life for Spencer without older brothers to push him around a little and teach him the important values in life. With college and important life decisions just around the corner, Jason and Daniel want to ensure that Spencer knows he always has a shoulder to lean on when stressed or in need of guidance.

Offering advice to Spencer, Jason said, “Don’t let yourself get tied just to Antioch, there’s a lot out there in the world that we don’t get exposed to here, so set yourself up with a chance to explore all that the world has to offer.”

His family’s love and support have encouraged Spencer to set himself apart from the rest of the pack and make his family proud.

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About the Contributor
Vera Fogel, Sports Writing Editor
Vera Fogel is a senior and is in her third year of staff. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, playing sports, and going shopping.

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