Fifth-year Oak Harbor boys soccer coach Rob Schimmoeller could put together a long list of things he likes about Rockets junior forward Phil Weirich.
"He is able to find the open man and put the ball in the net when he has the opportunity," Schimmoeller said. "He has good field awareness and he's a good teammate."
Weirich, a first-team all-district and All-Sandusky Bay Conference performer last season, agreed with his coach that field awareness is one of his strengths.
"To me, field awareness means knowing where other people are on the field and where I have to be when we don't have the ball," Weirich said. "That comes from years of experience, just getting to know the game and seeing other people play. There are different formations and set-ups or different things you can do.
"Some coaches base different formations on certain strengths that certain players have. Rob has definitely set up formations to kind of build on the strengths we have."
Weirich, a three-year starter, scored 20 goals and added nine assists as a sophomore, leading Oak Harbor (10-3-3) to a share of the program's first SBC championship. The Rockets were 8-1-3 in the conference, tying Sandusky Perkins for the title.
Oak Harbor returns nine starters from last year's team, and Weirich, who also plays for the ESSL Arsenal club team in the summer, holds the key to the Rockets' success in 2009.
"We want him to be a leader," Schimmoeller said. "He was a captain last year as a sophomore and he's a captain this year as a junior. Phil is the top returning vote-getter in the district and I expect him to lead us offensively."
The 5-6, 130-pound Weirich ran track last spring, competing in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays as well as the 800, but his season was cut short when he broke his collarbone in April.
"It healed up at the beginning of June," he said, "so I've been fine for a while."
Weirich has set his sights on a big season this fall, and he hopes it will carry over into his senior season in 2010.
"Individually, there are some records I'm hoping to break in my career," he said. "This season I think I'm going to break one of the (school) career records - hat tricks in a career. The record right now is 13 and I have 10. (Nick Kleman set the school record in 2006). It just seems like it's going to happen.
"My biggest goal, which I don't know if I'm going to get, is to score 100 goals in a career. Right now I have 43. It's like a big milestone. Nobody's done that in Oak Harbor history, and 100 goals would break a record for most goals in a career, too."
Weirich, who wants to also break the school record for career assists (42), was born in Virginia and moved to Oak Harbor with his family before the start of kindergarten.
He remembers kicking a soccer ball around at 3 years old, and he's been hooked ever since.
"My brothers, Keith and Travis, played soccer at Oak Harbor and I watched them play and they got me into it," said Weirich, who added that expectations are high for the veteran Rockets this year.
Oak Harbor opened the season Tuesday at Genoa.
"One of the main things we want has to be winning the SBC title again," Weirich said. "Obviously we're not the underdogs anymore. We're expected to finish high. We want to win sectionals and districts. We didn't do that last year. We were knocked out by Eastwood, but I definitely think that's high on our priority list this year.
"It's going to take people getting to know each other better and trying new things this year that we didn't have last year. We need to make less mistakes and capitalize on mistakes and finish our chances when we have the opportunity."