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And the captains shall lead

Then again, this is not your usual Battle Mountain soccer team. No doubt, the Huskies can score, but there are not the likes of Jesse Maddex, Mark Perna, Jose Lozano or Scott Ligouri.

“It’s sort of a change from the past,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “This is a group that is more about the unsung hero just grinding it out and getting it done. We have a leading scorer in J.D. (Lemon) and he’s been doing well, but the scoring is mixed, distributed among different players. (Thursday), we could beat Steamboat and it could be one of 12 or 13 players who scores the goal.”

Thus, we give you your 2002 soccer co-captains – Kyle Netzeband and Ryan Phillips. Just their selection is a break from the past – the two are a study in contrasts.

Born in Santa Barbara, Calif., Netzeband is your typical Southern California kid – dyed hair, outgoing and emotions on his shirt-sleeve. Phillips, he’s quiet, clean-cut and just going about his business.

Interests off the field? Netzeband’s into photography and graphic design. Phillips loves computers, video editing and video games.

Whatever differences in their personalities, the two seem to complement each other just fine. And with the Huskies starting the second half of the season with Saturday’s Homecoming game against Moffat County at 11 a.m., they’ll likely be an integral part of the team’s success.

Netzeband patrols the back as the team’s sweeper, a position which, he says, has helped him with his captain duties.

“Just being the sweeper the last couple of years, I’ve taken that leadership role, just telling people on the field where to be. It’s not been a transition,” Netzeband said. “As a captain, it’s just keeping everyone in line, making sure everyone’s doing their part out there, that everyone comes out to practice seriously. Keeping the team unity too, making sure no one’s having problems with everyone else.”

Phillips is a former fullback who’s moved up to midfield this season. The transition has be difficult at times.

“There’s a lot more ground to cover,” he said with a laugh.

But he’s getting the job done and most importantly, leading by example.

“He’s kind of a quiet leader. He has very high expectations. He brings every single day the same competitive attitude,” Cope said. “Players can learn from him just by watching him. He is also a captain on the field. In the position he plays, he tactically makes changes for his team. He looks at me and, in one glance, we know if we’re changing our formation or if he’s going to drop back or push forward. On the field, he really plays that role.”

Phillips is also a steadying presence for Battle Mountain. When passions run high, he’s often the one who’s making the peace.

“One of the main things is to maintain our composure throughout the game,” Phillips said. “You just try to go up to the guy and say, “The game’s 80 minutes long and there are going to be bad calls and you’ve got to live with that. There’s going to be somebody hacking at you.'”

Off the field, Phillips comports himself just as well as he takes AP classes in calculus and Spanish. Phillips plans on studying computer science in college – and he’s getting the jump on it right now woth his computer hobby. Phillips is in to surfing the net, downloading software, e-mailing and “working under the hood.” Phillips also has been keeping himself busy doing video editing for the school’s in-house TV program Paws.

Meanwhile, Netzeband is the team’s vocal and emotional leader. He’ll speak up in the huddle and is not afraid of the physical stuff at the right time.

“When I get out there I get really serious about it,” Netzeband said. “I can get a little ticked at people some time.”

“Kyle Netzeband is more of an emotional leader. He’s more verbal, getting guys pumped up, getting guys going. He also has to be the best looking defender in America,” Cope joked. “He’s not your traditional, blood-and-guts, ripped jersey defender. He wants to look good out there. He’s always been that sort of preppie boy, nice-looking kid.”


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