November 29, 2015

The Slobodien Soccer Star

Matt Nadel, '17

Senior Harrison Slobodien feels great pride playing for Golda Och Academy’s high school boys soccer team. Although this is his last season on the team, Slobodien would like to get one last hurrah with his buddies on the pitch.
“The team is just a good group of people,” he said. “I’ve played on a lot of other soccer teams in my life, but this one is very special.”
Slobodien has been a big leg in the Roadrunners’ recent soccer success, which included a goal in a first-round victory over Morristown Beard School in the NJ State Non-Public B tournament, avenging last year’s loss against the Crimson. Slobodien also scored GOA’s lone goal in its 1-7 quarterfinal loss to top-seeded Gill St. Bernard’s on November 5.
Over the past two years, the senior forward has led his team in goals and was the Roadrunners’ scoring leader with 32 this season. He says his biggest influence to how he plays the game of soccer is Lionel Messi, arguably the best soccer player in the world.
“I’ve always been a fan of Messi ever since I’ve been following soccer,” said Slobodien. “I like the attention of playing forward.”
Just like Messi, Slobodien might be the next great young soccer star.
The Roadrunners started off slow out of the gate this year, only going 1-3 inside the Super Essex Conference’s Colonial Division, but Slobodien thinks the club has a chance of claiming a second consecutive division title, the first title being “hands down” his favorite moment on the Roadrunners.
“We lost our first division game but we’ve won some games out of the division. If we can play like that for the rest of the year than we definitely have a chance.”
GOA has a couple of divisional games coming up in their overall tough schedule, so it will be a tough test for the high schoolers, but like Slobodien said, they have a chance if they play as well as they can.
Like most Jewish sports stars of the past and present, Slobodien has experienced some anti-Semitism, but handles it tactfully.
“People have called me bad names before, but I try not to get back at them,” he said. “If it gets too bad I’ll either tell my coach or the referee, who will usually handle the situation.”
Slobodien takes pride in playing for the Roadrunners because he is surrounded by supporters and friends alike.
“We’re winners,” Slobodien said when asked to describe his team in one word.
When asked the question of whether he will ever stop playing soccer, he said, “I hope to play until my body doesn’t let me anymore.”
It’s too bad that he will be leaving the school for college after this year, but he will always remember his time on the soccer field with his friends playing the sport they all love.
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