Several games into the 2012 soccer season, Salado Eagle head coach Michael Goos hadn’t seen the fire inside of sophomore Joshua Rogers.
“I hadn’t seen the athleticism yet, hadn’t seen the fire inside him,” Goos said. “These were the first few games of our existence as a program. I was trying to get to know the players and they were trying to get to know me. So — and I will never forget this — I put Josh at outside-back.
“Now, of course, every position on a soccer field is important. But the center-back has more responsibilities, more pressure than the outside-back. I didn’t talk about it with Josh but I had the feeling that he thought I was crazy.”
Soon enough, Goos saw that fire.
“Oh, yes,” Goos said. “By the time district play had started, I knew Josh had the fire in him necessary to be our center-back. He was tenacious. I moved him to center-back, gave him much more responsibility, and the light went on — it was instantaneous — that he was now where he
was supposed to be.”
Recently, Goos and Rogers had a conversation regarding 2012.
“Josh and I were joking around,” Goos said. “I asked him, ‘Do you remember when I put you at outside-back?’ He laughed and said, ‘Yes. What were you thinking?’”
Goos was thrilled that Rogers was given the Killeen Daily Herald’s 2014 All-Area Most Valuable Player Award.
“For Josh to win this award, after the three years and 80 games he’s given us, is so fitting,” Goos said. “He helped us in so many ways.”
Rogers was a virtual wall at center-back. He also took most of Salado’s throw-ins — his range an outrageous 45 yards.
“Josh was a fantastic weapon with his throw-ins and he ended up assisting a lot of goals that way,” Goos said.
Still, Goos’ favorite memories of Rogers aren’t any particular assists or any of Rogers’ stops of an opposing teams’ offensive thrusts.
“My first favorite memory of Josh is when we played Brownwood this season for the first time,” Goos said. “Josh didn’t play at all, he couldn’t. He wanted to play so bad. But I could see it was hurting him to stand, hurting to even walk. I told him he was out and the decision was final.
“Well, the entire game — and I mean the entire game, start to finish — Josh was standing on our sideline giving all this encouragement to his teammates. Nobody would have blamed him if he sat down for a second or two, but he wouldn’t. He wanted to find a way to contribute, and his way was to keep shouting encouragement to his teammates.”
Goos’ other favorite memory regarding Rogers involved a 2012 contest vs. Alvarado.
“Josh goes up for a header against their forward,” Goos recalled. “Their forward tried to bump Josh but gave him a knee in the back. It was a devastating thing to watch. I turned to my assistant and said, ‘Josh is out for a few weeks.’ But Josh just said he was fine, he wasn’t coming out and guaranteed that he could play through it. And Josh still played well and we ended up winning that game.”
Goos had a strong recall of the 2013 district coaches post-season meeting.
“It was time to pick the district MVP and I nominated Josh,” Goos said. “It’s not an award defenders usually get because they usually don’t have the stats of forwards or midfielders. But I didn’t even say much. One coach said, ‘Oh, Josh Rogers, he killed us.’ Another coach said, ‘We couldn’t do anything with him back there.’ The vote was a landslide.”
Goos was ecstatic when Rogers recently committed to UMHB.
“Believe me, UMHB will be very, very happy to have him next year,” Goos said.
After the 2014 season concluded, Rogers was approached in church by an eighth-grade student.
“This young kid got up the nerve to introduce himself to Josh,” Goos said. “And he asks Josh, ‘Where are you going to play your college soccer?’ And he told Josh, ‘I want to play your position when I get to Salado next year.’ And Josh kept talking to the kid. Josh was proud, not cocky, that he was being looked up to. But Josh later told me, ‘Coach, I’ve found a kid that has that fire you want on your teams.’ Even graduating, Josh still wants to help Salado win soccer games. It told me a lot about Josh.”
It told him the fire Joshua Rogers has for the Salado Eagle soccer program won’t ever be extinguished.
Sunday, June 1, 2014 4:30 am.