Above: Jon Huelsman is #5 (Courtesy of umsltritons.com)

By David Tocco, Staff Writer

Jon Huelsman, senior, physical education, captain of the University of Missouri—St. Louis (UMSL) men’s soccer team, was introduced to the sport at a very young age. “What my Dad says is that I started when I was like three or four kicking the ball around, and then he started getting me into actual soccer around age five,” he said. Huelsman also played baseball up until his freshman year of high school. “That’s when I knew [soccer] was the sport that I wanted to focus on and go to college for.”

Before college, Huelsman had already accomplished quite a bit. He was a four-year letter winner at Waterloo High School, earning all-state honors as a senior and setting a school record with 35 goals and 11 assists, which led to his selection as the team’s most valuable player that year. Huelsman helped his squad earn conference, regional, and sectional championships both as a junior and as a senior. Outside of high school, he played for the St. Louis Scott Gallagher Academy Soccer Club, which won state titles in 2008, 2009, and 2011.

However, the transition to college soccer was not ideal for the team captain. Coach Dan King recruited Huelsman right out of high school, but he was unable to attend UMSL his freshman year—a real letdown. Speaking about the struggle, Huelsman said, “My freshman year at Southwest Illinois Community College was kind of a tough period because I wanted to come to UMSL right off the bat and play four years here.”

Despite the adversity, Huelsman persevered and was able to net 10 goals and record six assists en route to earning all-region honors. He transferred to UMSL for his sophomore year and became a starting player right away. By the end of his sophomore year, King asked him to take on the role of team captain. Huelsman said he was “kind of surprised” since he had only been on the team for one year and would be the lone captain for his junior year. “Right then and there, that’s when I knew that I had to take control and take charge,” he said. Under his leadership, the team went on to a 12-4-2 record.

This year, the Tritons started off slow but still have high hopes to make the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) tournament by season’s end. Huelsman certainly has the drive to make that happen, saying, “[This is] my last year here, and I just want to go all out.” He does not have any prospects but has no plans to hang up the cleats just yet. “My goal is to play after this. I want to try to play professional at some level,” he said. He will begin looking into teams after the season concludes, hopefully after leading his team to a GLVC championship. The physical education major’s other plans include coaching, saying he would love to coach the sport he enjoys playing so much.

When asked about fan attendance and involvement, the senior midfielder said, “We don’t get much support. We would like to see some more fans out there. That would really motivate us to get a win.” As to how crowd noise can impact the team, he remarked, “That really helps us carry to a win, but we have to get the fans there first.”

Outside of soccer, Huelsman likes to play video games on his PlayStation 4, especially the soccer game “FIFA” which he plays both online and versus his teammates. Other passions include outdoor activities—particularly fishing.

The Triton men’s team has two remaining home games before the GLVC Tournament and because of their slow start, those games may determine whether or not they make the regional tournament. The men play Bellarmine University on October 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Don Dallas soccer field and again on October 25 at 2:30 p.m. vs. the Screaming Eagles of Southern Illinois. Attendance is free for all UMSL students with ID.

Huelsman scored both goals in Friday night’s 2-1 win versus William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. His second goal was an overtime header. Huelsman has now racked up 6 goals for the season which puts the senior at 52 points in his UMSL career (22 goals, 8 assists).