Because the main responsibility of a striker in soccer is to find the back of the net as often as possible, strikers tend to be selfish.
LaBrae's Mike Stassinis tries his best not to be this way, even though he has scored more than his fair share of goals during his high school career. In fact, the senior striker became the program's new career goal-scoring leader last week.
"I'm just glad I can represent my school in the way I do," said Stassinis, who has scored 40 goals and recorded 25 assists so far in his high school career. "I feel like it doesn't matter if I'm the one scoring it or if it's the guy next to me scoring it - as long we're winning the game, that's all that matters to me."
Stassinis broke the old record (set by 2012 graduate Greg Marsh with 33) during the Vikings' 3-1 win over Newton Falls on Aug. 28. The senior received a pass from teammate Isaiah Carmichael on the left wing and dribbled to his right before launching a right-footed shot for goal No. 34.
While the senior didn't say what the goal meant for him, he did comment on scoring against the Tigers.
"I'm just glad it was against Newton Falls," Stassinis said. "It's our rival school, and it was a home game. It was the changing moment of our team. I feel like it brought everything together."
Stassinis may deflect any credit for his goal-scoring capabilities, but his coach, Rick Jones, gushes about his striker.
Jones said the right-footed senior can play as a traditional No. 9 or center forward, but he also can drop deeper to pick up the ball when necessary. Also, he pointed to Stassinis' ability to read and find space on the field, which is why he's such a threat.
"It's very nice because he understands the game more than probably anybody in the county," Jones said. "He knows where to move, not a word has to be said to him."
The problem for the Vikings is other teams have noticed him, too, especially after bagging 15 goals and recording 12 assists last season. Jones and Stassinis said opponents have decided to put multiple defenders to mark him, making it difficult for him to create for himself.
"This year, he's had to use his passing skills to find the open (teammate) because every game we go into, he's double- and triple-teamed," Jones said. "Unfortunately, he's not getting the scoring opportunities, but he's one of the best kids one-on-one. He's almost unstoppable."
Instead of sulking about the lack of goals, though, Stassinis said he's excited to see other guys finding the back of the net.
"I'm starting to see that my teammates are getting open and I actually love to see other people score more," Stassinis said. "It gives me the opportunity to see other people smile and get more goals that they don't usually get."
Stassinis still plays a big role on offense, as evidenced by his performance in a 6-2 win over Jefferson on Thursday when he netted five goals and assisted on another. That pushes his season total to seven goals and four assists.
"He's a key part to our offense," Jones said. "I'm not going to say he'll put the team on his shoulders, but he will carry the team as far as we can go by creating offense."