New London athlete sets school record
By Scott Bellile
Every goal has counted these past four years for New London soccer player Joey Messina. With time running out on his high school career, he became the Bulldogs’ first athlete to reach 100 goals last week.
Joey described his 100th as an average routine goal. It happened 35:25 into the Bulldogs’ 9-2 victory over the Shawano Hawks on Oct. 15.
“It was an easy little tap in,” Joey said.
He said during the game he was aware number 100 was coming up but didn’t think much about it. Nonetheless he was happy to hear it announced over the speakers.
His focus was more on the team winning the game, he said.
New London coach Joe Messina (not to be confused with his son Joey) said he is happy Joey’s four years of hard work on the high school team and the Fox Cities United Soccer Club team paid off. But like Joey, Joe looks at it from a team perspective.
“Not every role is as high profile as the goal scorer, but those other roles are just as important as the person putting the ball in the back of the net,” Joe said. “As a coach, I look for all the players to function as one. That is what makes a great team.”
Joe said Joey has put an enormous amount of effort into honing his skills, and while the 100 goals are one thing, Joe is prouder of the lessons about hard work, patience and persistence his son is learning.
Joe is not protective of his son’s record.
“No other player from New London has done this, but I hope that we have more coming up,” Joe said.
KC Schuler, parent of soccer player Matt Schuler, watched Joey make his 100th goal from the sidelines. He said the milestone is a testimony to Joey’s years of hard work and comes in a season where the team is showing great improvement.
“Joey has matured into a solid team leader and helped the team gel,” KC said.
Joey agreed the team is on an upswing. His ultimate goal is for the team to win the regional tournament after falling short the last two years.
The regional game begins at home Thursday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. against Antigo. The winner will then play the winner of the Clintonville versus Waupaca on Saturday, Oct. 24, at a time and location to be determined.
Results from the Oct. 15 game against Shawano are below. Stats from New London’s games last week against West De Pere and at conference were not submitted.
New London saves (Caleb Lauer): 4
New London scoring: Joey Messina, assist by Parker Sullivan. Jason Sanderfoot, assist by Messina. Sullivan. Messina. Messina. Sanderfoot, assist by Sullivan. Sullivan. Sullivan. Cole Thompson, assist by Messina.