Jeannette senior Chishko excited about soccer team's prospects
Bailey Chishko, a senior at Jeannette High School, has been playing soccer nearly all his life.
Chishko, who focuses on soccer as his favorite sport, got his start in the Jeannette Soccer Club.
“I just tried it and liked it, so I kept playing,” said Chishko. “I was good, so that helped.”
His goal for the year is to continue getting better and to help the team improve.
He has switched positions for his final year of high school soccer. Chishko, who has always played at mid-field, has moved to the forward position. It's basically a wholesale change.
He has gone from playing a more a defensive role on the field to playing no defense whatsoever. Chishko said it's too early in the season to tell if he prefers his old position or new position.
“It's a big switch. The game itself is different because you're in a different spot playing against the opponent,” he said.
The Jeannette boys soccer team has come a long way since its reincarnation a few years ago. In Chishko's freshman year, the team was brand new and wasn't an official WPIAL team. The group was in club play, essentially playing a season of scrimmages.
“I'm sick of losing. I feel proud of building the team and I just want to do great this year and leave a legacy,” Chishko said.
Each year, the team has made moderate improvements and this year, Chishko said, he is excited about the group's prospects.
“The team is a lot better than last year. We have a different coach who is going a different way and it's working way better,” he said. “I expect a lot more wins this season.”
Mitchell Steele is the new boys soccer head coach and Chishko is enjoying his leadership.
“He's good,” Chishko said. “It's like having our own motivational speaker. He loves the game. He decided to take the spot, I'm glad. Change is good.
“The team is responding well. We haven't done this well, ever really.”
The team started off the season winning two scrimmages, including one against a team that “destroyed us” last year.
“The same team this year brought like 30 kids with them and we had no subs and we still beat them.”
In the meantime, the team has added a few more freshmen players and is up to three subs available in games.
Still, that's not a ton of time off in the course of a game, especially for a senior leader on the team like Chishko. He said the difference is made in his conditioning efforts.
“You have to prepare yourself to not get a break in the whole game,” he said. “You have to work extra hard in practices.”
After graduation next spring, Chishko hopes to place soccer in college but he hasn't chosen a school yet. He also hasn't settled on a major, but he likes science and computers.
Chishko is thankful to his teammates for their hard work in getting this year's group where it needs to be to see a successful season.
He is the son of Brian Chishko, who has been coaching him in soccer for his entire life. Brian Chishko did not grow up playing soccer; he learned the game specifically so he could coach his son, and his son has grown into an athlete who is consistently recognized for his hard work on the field.
Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-838-5154.