This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.08/30/2023 07:04 AM
Sebastian Kadlof has been a fixture at the helm of The Morgan School’s boys’ soccer team, handling captain duties for each of the last two years. During his senior season last fall, he totaled 18 goals and 22 assists while leading the Huskies to a 14-4-1 record. As September approaches and the season begins to change, Sebastian turns his attention to the next level, preparing for his first collegiate soccer season at Eastern Connecticut State University, while also reflecting on his time at Morgan.
This summer, Sebastian was named to the 2022-23 High School Scholar All-American Team. He was one of three boys in Connecticut and 54 nationwide who made the United Soccer Coaches annual team. These athletes are “honored based on their cumulative achievement in the classroom as well as on the soccer field during their secondary school careers.” Sebastian sported a 4.0 GPA while at Morgan.
Sebastian cites his busy schedule as a key factor in his success, rather than a hindrance. He feels the structure provided by multiple soccer seasons and constant academic obligations allowed him little time to dwell on assignments and helped organize his time.
“Managing it was difficult at times,” Sebastian says. “There were definitely some late nights that turned into early mornings for projects and papers and stuff like that. Honestly, I like being busy, I think that if I was just bumming around, I feel like I wouldn’t get as much work done. If I didn’t play a sport, I wouldn’t be as motivated to get my work done. Since I play (soccer) I can’t push it off (until) the last minute because I won’t have as much time, it helps with time management.”
As a self-motivated student, Sebastian looked inward when he needed the extra push in the classroom. On the soccer field, that motivation was stoked by Morgan Head Coach Ross Demay and the rest of the coaching staff. Sebastian is grateful for the push he got from Demay, and has tapped into this drive many times during his career.
“He was a very motivational coach, he was hard on us, but he was always very positive,” Sebastian says of Demay. “His ability to push a player is something I haven’t seen in very many coaches that I’ve had. I think one thing that I took from Morgan soccer and the coaching staff there was the ability to get ready and grind something out. Work hard even if something hurts a little bit, or if you’re tired, if you’re thirsty, you’ve just got to keep going and that at the end of the day it will be worth it.”
Demay praises his two-year captain with taking on the leadership role and evolving with what the team needed from him. Last year, that meant mentoring a group of younger players. Sebastian understood that the season would not be a success unless everyone bought in and became confident in their roles.
“Sebby was a two-year captain that led well both years,” Demay says. “Last year he really accepted the role with younger guys…he saw the potential and knew that without embracing them our season wouldn’t have been what it was. Very often he would pick them up and continue to get them involved in games to eventually get their game speed up and find the success on the field.”
Outside of The Morgan School team, Sebastian competed both regionally and nationally with CT Rush. He feels the additional reps on the field with some of the top talent in the country widened his knowledge of the game and helped prepare him for the next level post-high school.
“It has been very helpful and it gave me an advantage in my high school season,” says Sebastian. “It gave me a good transition into the college scene.”
As Sebastian makes that transition and preps for his freshman season at ECSU, he notes the razor thin margin for error as the biggest difference between high school soccer and the faster college game.
“It is definitely a lot more physical and it’s a lot faster,” Sebastian says. “It is more ruthless, I would say is a good word. In high school if I messed up, I could get away with it a good amount of the time…here you make a mistake and you don’t do your job to try and recover or your teammate isn’t close by, you get capitalized on, that’s probably the biggest difference.”
During the offseason, Sebastian has worked to hone his scoring ability, specifically in close-range opportunities. During high school, Sebastian thrived on his ability to break down a defense, maneuvering through defenders before finding the back of the net. He knows as a college player he’ll have to be more precise with his goal scoring, especially from free kicks and corners, which are such a vital part of the college game.
“The main thing I’d say I want to improve on is my ability to score,” Sebastian says. “That’s kind of basic but I’ve never really been good at headers, and set pieces are a huge part of the college game…. A lot of goals are scored off of corner kicks or free kicks that are crossed into the box and some guy sticks his head on it and it goes in. If I could implement that into my game, I could be a lot more successful on the field.”
Demay has always seen Sebastian’s stellar work ethic as a key to his success, and notes the mental aspect of his game as the biggest area of growth throughout his high school career. Demay believes Sebastian will take on whatever roles are assigned to him and eventually become a vital component to his team’s success in college, just like he was at Morgan.
“He is able to take on a variety of roles,” Demay says. “He will be a solid role player as the first few years teach him the roles, play styles and what is expected of him. (He’ll) eventually learn to carry the team on his back for whatever they may need. As he understands what is needed, his work ethic will be unmatched until he exceeds his expectations on the field.”
Sebastian plans to major in Finance while at Eastern. He hopes to focus his academic attention towards practical skills that will help him on the path to his ultimate goal: one day operating his own business and working for himself. He credits a course he took early in his high school career with sparking that interest.
“Sophomore year I took a class on personal finance, and it was very eye-opening,” says Sebastian. “The idea of owning something of my own, and having my own hours, just sounds very appealing to me and that’s why I want to study finance here at Eastern.”
When reflecting on what has helped him on his journey, Sebastian points to his family, his parents and siblings for constantly supporting his soccer career from sidelines across the state and the nation.
“My dad and my brother would always train with me back in the day, they still do now,” explains Sebastian. “Even my sisters (who) live farther away, they make as much of an effort to make it to as many games as possible, so I just want to shout out my family and thank them for being so supportive.”