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Defensive stands define Calvin soccer season
By Ross Weener
Mike Standfest
Mike Standfest (Williamsburg, Mich.)

Growing up, Mike Standfest always had a love for soccer. That love led him to start playing when he was five years old and continues with him as he approaches graduation from Calvin in May.

Between Standfest’s early start in soccer and upcoming graduation, he has earned a number of accolades on the soccer field. At Elk Rapids (Mich.) High School, Standfest earned All-State second team honors his junior year and first team honors his senior year. At Calvin he has been equally successful, earning All-MIAA second team status during 2003 and All-MIAA honorable mention standing during the 2002 season. Over the course of his four-year tenure with the varsity team (2000 - 2003), no player has started more games in the defensive backfield than Standfest.

Chris Hughes, head soccer coach for the Knights, said Standfest is a team player. “When I told Mike that I needed to move him to outside back this year, instead of stopper like last year, he just looked at me and said, 'Sure coach, whatever I need to do for the team.’ He was part of a senior class that was the glue for this year’s team.”

Standfest, a marking back, was an integral part of a Calvin defensive machine that allowed a league-best six goals in MIAA play, including eight shut-out victories. The Knights finished tied atop the MIAA with Hope, sporting a 10-2-0 conference record — their first league crown since 1999. The MIAA men’s soccer title was the 16th in Calvin history, with the Knights holding more MIAA men’s soccer titles than any other league school.

During the final week of the season, Standfest was named MIAA Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

As a business major graduating in May, Standfest is looking to enter the family business of masonry. With his brother, Josh, he hopes one day to take over the reins of the business from their father.

For Standfest, the lessons learned from playing soccer are easily transferable to everyday life. “During the season, soccer makes you a more committed student because you are forced to budget your time. You have so many things competing for your time, and that’s the way it will be in the working world,” he said.

In the two years that Hughes has been at the helm of Calvin soccer, he has seen Standfest mature as a player. “Michael is a gamer — I have never had to worry about him in the back at all. No matter what the level of the game, Mike would always rise to meet that level.”

According to Standfest, this year’s squad understood the essence of what it meant to be a team. “It seemed like this year we played as more of a team. But it was really more than that, too; we are all friends off the field and like to hang out with each other.”

While there are no defensive schemes ahead for Standfest, the lessons learned on the soccer pitch and his love for the game will forever be a part of Mike Standfest — soccer player or not.