SARDINIA — If a team wants and hopes to make a climb from a standpoint of wins and losses, the improvement of the defensive backline is arguably the most important feature to a program’s rise — because it helps the entire unit possess the ball in a greater manner.
For Wyatt Makstaller, that’s exactly what he helped Sardinia Eastern Brown do during his high school career.
Makstaller, an all-Southern Hills Athletic Conference (SHAC) and a Division III all-Southeast District talent over each of the past two seasons, will look to improve Shawnee State’s defense just as he did Eastern Brown’s — as the defender will play with the Bears’ men’s soccer program for the 2020 season on forward.
For Makstaller, the opportunity to play at the collegiate level — and at a place close to home — is simply rewarding.
“I felt that Shawnee State was a great fit for me,” Makstaller said. “I envisioned myself excelling in my academics and on the soccer team. I like how helpful that all of the administrators have been. The tuition is reasonable, it’s not too far from home, and the campus is beautiful.”
At the Brown County program, Makstaller was a key cornerstone to an Eastern backline that greatly improved from his freshman season.
In 2016, the Warriors allowed 4.28 goals per contest and only scored 1.17 while going 4-13-1, then allowed 3.61 goals per game and scored 1.44 while going 6-11-1 the following year.
Over the past two seasons, however, the Warriors improved drasticially.
En route to going 17-12-4 over the final two seasons of competition, Eastern allowed less than 2.55 goals against average in 2018 and 2019 — and posted three goals and three assists in his final year despite primarily contributing on the backline for the SHAC program.
“Playing soccer for Eastern Brown was great,” Makstaller said. “We were a small team in numbers, but we were a very tightly-knit team. I was able to build great relationships with my teammates, coaches and my athletic director. As far as attending Eastern Brown, it was a very small school, so there was plenty of room for one-on-one help. I also had great relationships with my former teachers and staff.”
In addition to his success as a soccer talent for Eastern Brown, Makstaller also got an early start in pursuing his passion.
During his final two years of high school, Makstaller added Southern Hills Career Technical Center, a vocational school that helped the soccer pitch standout obtain a jumpstart on pursuing a career in exercise science in the future.
“It was a great experience,” Makstaller said. “I had wonderful, knowledgeable teachers. I feel that I will be beginning my career at Shawnee State with a great foundation in the sports medicine field.”
In addition to finding SSU as a strong option because of its proximity to Brown County, Makstaller’s also thrilled about the program’s direction.
“I was attracted to Shawnee State because I still have my family close enough for support,” Makstaller said. “One of my classmates that I graduated in the program with is also attending Shawnee State, and we hope to room together in a dorm. I was looking for a college that had my desired program, and of course, a good soccer program. I reached out to (Ron Goodson) and sent him my video footage of me playing soccer, and he offered me a spot on the team.”
In the game itself, Makstaller primarily played centerback for Eastern Brown, but the incoming freshman describes himself as a versatile talent who is able to adjust to, and play at, any position.
“I like stopping shots and scoring goals,” Makstaller said. “My greatest asset is that I’m a good playmaker on the field, and I’m able to envision plays at the last minute.”
Going forward, Makstaller is simply thrilled to have a chance to continue his passions — both on and off of the pitch.
He’s certainly grateful to Shawnee State for giving him the chance to follow both causes.
“I want to obtain my master’s degree in exercise science,” Makstaller said. “As far as the soccer team is concerned, I hope to become a huge asset to the team, and secure a lot of wins.”
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