Clarksville, Ark.-Head U of O Men's Soccer Coach John Cossaboon has described senior defender Aaron Brueckner as a silent warrior for good reason this season.
Brueckner, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound product of Allen, Texas, sets the tone for the Eagles as one of the team captains. Whether in practice or games, Brueckner leads by example, according to Cossaboon.
“He is the kind of athlete that I enjoy coaching the most,” said Cossaboon. “He is like a silent warrior. He only talks when he has to. On the field he is a leader by example. He does whatever is asked of him. He is seemingly egoless and he is the backbone and glue that holds the team together.”
Brueckner is one of the top defenders in the American Southwest Conference and has helped Ozarks (12-4-2, 8-3-2) secure the program’s tenth consecutive trip to the playoffs, which will begin this Friday in Belton, Texas. The All-Conference performer will lead Ozarks to battle against Mississippi College at 2:00 p.m. in the first round.
On the pitch, Brueckner has the ideal physical attributes for a soccer player, according to Cossaboon.
“The combination of physical presence and intelligent skilled soccer playing is what sets him apart,” said Cossaboon. “He gets both by his hard work off the field and during the offseason. He has made himself the soccer player he is today. His physical attributes help him in the tackle and hold off other players that try to get by him or through him. He is the right combination of speed, size, balance and strength. He has what I consider soccer strength. It is all related to balance and quickness and his ability to deal with the ball. It is an ideal combination.”
Brueckner’s chiseled frame and impressive fitness level took hours of hard work. His workout routine this summer was strenuous.
“Over the summer I did my own two-a-day program,” said Brueckner, who will graduate in May and wants to coach college soccer. “I would lift, run and do sprints in the morning, and then do soccer training skills in the afternoon. I was in the weight room five times a week for about an hour each day. I ran 4 ½ miles a couple times a week. I would complete our fitness test that covers about a mile of sprinting. I took the summer as an opportunity to go out and do all I could. I don’t want to look back and ask myself what I could have done.”
Brueckner feels like he holds an advantage over his opponents as a result of his dedication to a rigorous workout schedule.
“I’ve always felt like if you could go to the weight room and get stronger you could have the edge on the field especially being a defender,” said Brueckner. “It’s good as a defender to have strength because you go shoulder to shoulder with players. A lot of people look at soccer at not being a physical game, but it is actually one of the biggest contributors to the game. If you have that physical attribute you definitely have an advantage.
Brueckner has flourished in his role as the leader of the defense, starting in all 19 matches this season. He has also contributed one goal and three assists.
“My role on the team is to organize our defense in the back,” said Brueckner, who has played in 71 career matches at Ozarks. “I help redirect everyone. From my standpoint of being a leader, I want to be a leader by example, not just vocally. And, I want to be consistent.”
As post-season play approaches, Brueckner wants nothing more than to win the conference tournament and extend his senior season into the NCAA III national tournament.
“Words can’t describe how it would feel to the win the ASC tournament and go to the national tournament,” said Brueckner. “That is the one thing that has been on my mind since last season. I have been preparing myself the whole year for this. I stayed here during the summer and worked out to keep in shape. To be a member of this team is a privilege and something we don’t take lightly.”