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By Janelle Williams
Unlike most seniors at Central Hardin High School, Noah Wiersema might not be dancing in a rented tux and singing off key to the latest hit song at prom this April.
Instead, he might spend that evening sprinting in muddy cleats on a soccer field at a tournament in Michigan.
“I’ve been playing soccer for pretty much forever.” said Wiersema, captain of the Bruins’ boys varsity soccer team. Quitting has never been an option, he said.
His dedication stems from his upbringing, he said.
Wiersama's father, Mike Wiersema, has coached soccer at multiple high schools throughout the nation and currently coaches at Central Hardin.
“Everyone in my family has some involvement in soccer.” Wiersema said. His 16-year-old sister, Mia, also plays for Central Hardin while his two other sisters, Jana and Rica, have videotaped games in the past. “And my mom’s your classic soccer mom,” he said.
“Soccer isn’t your average sport,” the four time Academic All-State achiever said. “We’re not your average family and I’m not an average kid.”
A self-proclaimed math nerd, Wiersema said his interests include solving Rubik’s cubes and studying philosophy.
“This sport requires you to think on your feet. It allows me to use my imagination,” he said.
“He’s a monster,” said Central Hardin sophomore, Matt Whitehouse, referring to the forward player’s swiftness and improvised plays.
Mia echoed this description. “My brother has made me a gracious loser,” she said, laughing.
As he concludes his final season, in which he scored his 50th varsity goal, Wiersema reflected on the memories of playing for Central Hardin.
"I’ll miss the habit of eating Subway sandwiches before practice, the atmosphere of getting ready and watching the sun set before a game starts," he said.
Yet, Wiersema's soccer career is simply beginning. This spring, after much thought and prayer, he signed a contract to play for Covenant College, a school his father attended and where his older
sister, Ana, is enrolled.
"Outside of soccer, I know that God wants me there," he said.
Mia expressed grief for his departure.
"It’s going to be hard when he leaves in the fall,” she said. "When I think of my big brother, three words come to mind: heel, heal and he’ll. 'Heel' because I’m always at his heels in soccer, constantly trying to keep up with him. I think of 'heal' because he’s always there to heal and comfort me. Finally, I think of 'he’ll' and you can fill in the blank because my big brother is so unpredictable. You never know what he’ll do next,” she said.
Janelle Williams is a junior at Central Hardin High School.