Recovering from an injury, EMU men's soccer senior Caleb Oakes (Waynesboro, Va./Stuarts Draft) demonstrates a strong sense of perseverance and faith, continuing to cherish each moment in his final season.
“I am thankful for the opportunities I (get to play),” he said. “I’ve always been injury prone, so at this point it's honestly something that I deal with and try not to dwell on too much.”
In the four years Caleb has been apart of the team, the EMU men’s soccer program has shown significant growth. Off the field, Caleb assists in facilitating the team Bible study and also helps lead student-athletes in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“Not only has soccer helped me mature more as a player, but also as a human being,” Caleb said, “Looking back, I believe the men’s soccer program here has stayed consistent in its purpose of developing players on and off the field.”
Caleb spent much of his athletic career as a central midfielder. This season, EMU’s coaching staff has been playing him in a wide attacking role.
“He is good at getting on the end of a cross and is composed around the goal,” Coach Roger Mast said. “This adjustment fits his strengths the most.”
After returning from an early-season injury, Caleb earned points in three straight games. Starting with an assist in the Rowdy Royals home game against Messiah College, Caleb then added goals in back-to-back road games. He picked up the tenth goal of his career against Lebanon Valley, with six of them also being game-winning goals.
“While some of the stuff I’ve done on the field is fun to reminisce on,” Caleb commented, “the memories that have been most impactful for me are the relationships I’ve made with people on the team.”
EMU is now 5-5 as they look ahead to ODAC competition.
“Caleb has the ability to attack and score goals,” Coach Mast said. “Some of his greatest strengths are his pace and athleticism. He is a handful for defenders to deal with. I look forward to seeing Caleb make an impact on our upcoming ODAC opponents.”
“Being on the men’s soccer team has helped me in multiple ways,” Caleb explained. “It has taught me a greater meaning of commitment, dedication, and humility, and has made me into a more complete and mature person. All these characteristics will help me succeed in life outside of college.”
Following graduation, Caleb plans to attend graduate school and pursue his degree in Physical Therapy. His main goal is to become a physical therapist and help patients improve their overall quality of life.
“I hope to help people with pain realize that it is not something that they have to live with or a reason that they have to sacrifice something they love.”
-- by Bri Miller, EMU Sports Information Writing Intern