John Byszewski may have tried different sport over the years, but his passion lies with the first sport he tried—soccer.
“I started when I was about three,” says Byszewski. “It was the first sport I ever played. I’ve been in love with it ever since.”
Byszewski is the varsity goalkeeper for Santa Margarita Catholic High School, and his unique position on the field gives him an equally unique perspective on the game.
“My favorite thing about the position is I’m also like a second coach back there,” says Byszewski. “I get to see the field from a different perspective. I get to see how plays develop and how to arrange the team. There’s different ways to help the team get the win.”
One of the reasons the 17-year-old junior has stayed with the sport is because of the friendships that happen between teammates. Byszewski also appreciates the special excitement that occurs when representing his fellow Eagles.
“Probably the best part about playing for high school is being able to play in front of all of your peers and have a big crowd in front of you,” says Byszewski. “In high school, you have all your friends out there. It’s super exciting that way.”
Santa Margarita varsity boys soccer head coach, Wade Fraser, acknowledges the critical role of a soccer goalkeeper, a role Byszewski has stepped into with ease.
“John’s commitment to improving year in and year out has made him one of the best goalkeepers in the county,” says Fraser. “John’s teammates see how hard he works both on and off the field, and because of this, they look up to him. He is also turning in to a vocal leader on the field, which is an extremely important characteristic for a goalie.”
As the last line of defense, injuries are a way of life for soccer goalkeepers, and it’s been no different for Byszewski.
“Some of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered have been injuries,” says Byszewski. “Playing goalie, you’re diving on the ground a bunch. You have to be able to accept that you’re hurt…then work back to get to 100 percent.”
Byszewski currently serves his campus as a member of ASB and hopes to continue his soccer career at the collegiate level alongside studying mechanical engineering.
The Mission Viejo resident consistently looks to his parents as role models, as they’ve taught him to, “work hard and do my best in everything.” Byszewski also uses his faith as a guide and chose Colossians 3:23 as his Bible verse for this season.
“My faith is a big part of competition,” says Byszewski. “At the beginning of each season I pick a Bible verse. Every game I write that on my wrist…and I play with that the whole season.”
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” Colossians 3:23