Soccer defenders usually do not have gaudy stats.
Sheboygan North senior Ryan Biebel scored twice this season, but that is not the reason the defender made first-team all-Fox River Classic Conference for the first time.
He did not allow a goal to be scored from his side of the field, as he usually played right hand defensive back.
“But a lot of times I moved him to the middle to solidify our defense and it made us much better,” Golden Raiders’ coach Tim Eirich said. “No one scored on him from either position.
“He usually goes against some of the best offensive players in the conference. He will outwork them. Him not having a goal scored on him, there’s not a lot of defenders in the conference that have the succes to say ‘yeah, I was able to do that.’ He just doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.”
Biebel played just about every minute this season with the exception of 15 or 20 in a blowout, and wanted to shut out players on his side of the field more and more as the season continued.
“I thought that would have been a great milestone, not only for myself but also for the team,” Biebel said. “I think it contributed to the overall play of the team.”
They keys to Biebel’s success are his speed – he refers to it as a “flash of dash” – and he enjoys defensive tactics as well as an attacking mindset.
“It pushes the opposing team to get back more so they don’t have this big gap to make runs and take through balls,” Biebel said. “I think not giving them the opportunity to think about, and turn, and have a lot of time with the ball really helps.”
Biebel was already playing on club teams in fourth grade and spent two years on the state’s Olympic Development Program as a sophomore and junior.
Next year, he wants to study civil engineering or architect at either UW-Platteville – where he would play on the soccer team – or Marquette.
Eirich calls him a quality individual and knows he will be missed.
“He’s a hard, hard, hard worker,” Eirich said. “He’s a person on your team that you want younger players to emulate as to his passion for the game and his work ethic in practice, his work ethic in the game.
“You don’t get a lot of those kids. They do come in and out of the program, but when they do, as a coach I cherish that type of player.”
Four Redwings made all-conference, led by defender Noah Miesfeld, who earned a spot on the second team.
Three teammates also received honorable mention in defender Efren Alba, midfielder Isaac Cobos and forward Ethan Koenig.