Steele behind the wheel

by Alex Beilman, contributor

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Regan Steele has always been an offensive spark for his teams. He was team Most Valuable Player at Hutt Valley High School in his native New Zealand, and scored a total of 20 points (six goals, eight assists) during his collegiate career at Canisius College.

“I do like to pass the ball around,” Steele said. “I get a lot of enjoyment from one, two touch passing and people moving off the ball into forward areas.”

He also brings something with him that is not always visible to the spectators: leadership.

Steele was named captain for the opening match against Rochester River DogZ FC, in which he played 65 minutes in the midfield for the Blitzers. For head coach Brendan Murphy, the decision to give Steele the captaincy was relatively easy based on his experiences with the New Zealand international.

“Every team needs a leader. It’s great to have someone who has served as a captain on other teams before,” Murphy said of his selection. “He did a good job in the role. I felt like there was going to be moments in that game, and there was, where we needed a calming influence.”

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Aside from his offensive statistics, Steele captained Canisius for the last two years of his career. It was a critical time for the program, as it saw several seniors graduate. The staff trusted Steele to be able to lead the team during the rebuild.

SteeleNow, leading a side that has seen a lot of new faces join the squad, Steele’s experience and leadership could prove vital to the Blitzers’ success.

“The first game all eleven starters were new, I think,” Steele said. “It was all our first FC Buffalo game. I think me being one of older players on the team, I felt like I’ve been in a situation where I’ve had to bring together people that didn’t know each other that well quickly. You learn players’ habits, and you start to build up more rhythm.”

His leadership credentials extend beyond the confines of the touch lines. Steele participates in several youth coaching clinics in the area and, for the last two years, had served as an assistant on the Canisius College women’s soccer coaching staff.

“I do try to keep the two things separate, obviously. I think the game has slowed down for me,” Steele says of his coaching experience. “Once you’re on the coaching staff, you think a bit more tactically. I think I play a lot smarter than I did in college. That little bit of composure really helps. Coaching has allowed me to stick to what I know and do what I do well.”

His coach agreed.

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“The best thing about him, and one of the major reasons he’s captain, he does all the little things. He understands it from a coaching perspective,” said Murphy. “He’s not above anything. If I say, ‘Hey I need a group of guys moving the goal,’ he’s the first one to go move the goal. ‘Can you guys help clean up the balls?’ He’s jogging to the furthest ball away and bringing it in. He’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure the practice is successful and make sure the team is organized.”

Overall, Steele is excited to be able to help the club in any manner necessary. He is aware of the opportunity he has in front of him and the influence he can have on a young team full of new faces.