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Aaron Kulig and Tyler Collins (also known as T.C.) are seniors at Boyertown Area High School and are both members of the boys’ soccer team. Both starting playing soccer at a very young age, Aaron since his days playing at the Y.M.C.A, while Tyler played for West-Mont Christian Academy.
Aaron grew up watching his sister Shannon play soccer. His father encouraged sports so Aaron decided to follow in his sister’s footsteps. In the Collins household, they played every sport known.
“Soccer was the one that I excelled at,” said Collins. Tyler was surprised by how quickly he picked up the sport. Although, there aren’t too many sports that he doesn’t pick up quickly. “I’ve been athletic since I was little,” he said.
For each of them, it was something different that drew them to the sport. Tyler realized early that he could use his speed to score a bunch of goals. Another thing that helped him with soccer when he was little was his strength.
“It’s something special about kicking a ball,” said Kulig.
Head Coach Scott Didyoung knows that the two bring experience and a physical presence to the soccer field. According to Coach Didyoung, they are both tough to contain because they are aggressive players.
“They have a lot of the special qualities that attacking players need to have,” said Didyoung. “They work well together.
They both love the game.”
Didyoung first saw the duo in ninth grade when they told him that they wanted to play on the team. Kulig and Collins decided to stop playing other sports to concentrate just on soccer. However, Didyoung wants his athletes to play other sports so they can develop themselves as athletes and use the different muscles not just the ones used in soccer.
The two players, along with the rest of the team, are enjoying a season in which the Bears are in first place (9-1) in the Liberty Division of the PAC-10. With an overall record of 11-2, the Bears have given up 15 just goals on the season. Kulig and Collins lead the team in scoring. Collins has scored 11 goals and three assists while Kulig has scored eight goals and five assists.
“It’s going great,” said Kulig. “We’re scoring a lot of goals and we’re having fun winning.”
“We’re playing well together up top, generating all our goals,” added Collins.
Both players play striker/forward on the field, and look to each other. The two have been playing soccer together since seventh grade so they have reached the point in which they pretty much know where the other will be on the field.
When asked who the leader of the two was, they both said that it was neither of them.
“There are other players on the field who fill that role,” said Collins. “We like to lead through our production and energy.”
The two do have some big shoes to fill on the soccer field since Chad Craig has moved on to play at college. Craig scored 16 goals with eight assists last season. However, it’s not just Craig that they have to replace, it’s all of the seniors that were on the team last year.
So far Kulig and Collins have done quite well to fill those shoes. Record-wise the Bears are ahead of where they were last year at this time. Tyler feels that they have done that role quite well so far.
“We have a culture of success here and we needed to step up our senior year,” said Kulig. “We had to fill everyone’s shoes. We’ve played well the last four years and we wanted to keep that going.”
Didyoung will acknowledge that Collins and Kulig did have big shoes, but at the same time, they don’t have to be duplicate of Craig. They can fill his shoes and still play their own game.
“They’re their own players and all three of them are talented players,” said Didyoung. “When they played with Chad, they were effective soccer players. Now they don’t have him and they’re showing how special and dynamic they are themselves. They’re playing to replace his output of goals and assists and they’re doing just fine.”
Collins expected the team to be in first place this year, so the team’s success is not a surprise to him. The team has 12 seniors in 2012. “We expected to be very competitive,” said Kulig. “We expected to be contenders.”
“We knew the league would be competitive and we’re happy with where we are,” added Collins.
Being in first place means that opposing teams will always be at their best, trying to knock off the top team. Kulig knows that all the games will be tough and that no matter who is in first place, teams will be gunning for them.
Collins knows that even though teams are gunning for them, it doesn’t affect their play. He has seen his team play as they should to be able to get wins.
“Maybe it’s a little bit of motivation knowing that everyone wants to beat us,” stated Collins.
In addition to aiming for a league championship, the Bears are also hoping to go further in the District 1-AAAA playoffs than last year. Both agree that that’s a reachable goal for them.
“We’ve been knocking on the door lately,” said Kulig.”
“We’re finally ready to break that door down,” added Collins.
While they would disappointed if they didn’t win the PAC-10 title this year, they know it wouldn’t be the end of the world. They made a lot of friends on the team and built good relationships with their teammates. That is also the goal of any high school athlete.
After their high school career is over, both Kulig and Collins are looking to move on and play at the college level. Neither one is sure where they are going, but Collins is looking to major in Criminal Justice while Kulig is looking to major in Pre-Med.
sion three colleges.
Both feel they are ready to make the jump to college soocer, but they also realize there is much yet to learn.
“They are far from reaching their maximum potential,” said Didyoung. “Both boys will go to play at the college level. I think they’re going to continue to work at it and be amazing players at the college level. We’re just very fortunate to have both of them be a part of the program.”