Lepera leads as captain, ‘quarterback’

In football, the quarterback is more times than not the leader of the team. He has to have great vision of the whole field and to know where everyone else is supposed to be at all times.

The same can be said of the center-mid position in soccer.

"It’s a lot like playing quarterback in football," Titan Pat Lepera said. "You have to be able to read the game and be able to see the whole field and what’s going on with everyone. It takes a lot of endurance to play

Lepera, a junior from Windsor, Ontario, has been a solid center-mid for the Titans over the last three years. He was rewarded with the title of captain this season, and is focused on leading the team on and off the field.

"Being a captain is both rewarding and a challenge," said Lepera. "It’s rewarding in the sense that it means the coaches have faith in me but it’s also a challenge because it is a big amount of

Other than being a captain, Lepera has contributed on both the offensive and defensive ends.

On offense, Lepera has seven career goals, including three coming this season in the last few games.

On defensive, Lepera was awarded the team’s defensive player of the year award last season.

"I was really happy about the award and I didn’t expect to win it because it usually goes to a defender," Lepera said. "Coach Deren said that I worked hard and made good plays so I was excited to win the award."

As a freshman, Lepera started 17 games. He started in 17 games again last season, and he tied for fourth on the team with six points.

"I really enjoy everything about the game," Lepera said. "Soccer is not like a lot other sports where you score a lot. And when you do score, it makes you feel like a million dollars."

While Lepera has enjoyed his three years playing as Titan, he has been playing soccer for a long time.

"I have been playing soccer for my whole life," said Lepera. "I was influenced a lot by my older brother, who received a scholarship to play soccer, and I wanted to achieve the same thing."

Lepera also played hockey while growing up in Canada.

"I loved playing hockey when I was younger and even sometimes out on the pond in the winter," Lepera said. "I would say my favorite player is Mats Sundin," the former center for the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

However, Lepera is trying to stay focused on the rest of the soccer season and not worry about the Maple Leafs just yet.

"We have to just keep working together on the field," Lepera said. "We went through a rough stretch recently but coach still believes in us and we have to continue to battle. I say we will definitely be competing hard in the rest of our games this season."

As for his own goals the rest of the year, Lepera is trying not to do too much.

"I just have to do my part," Lepera said. "That includes winning my battles and working with the other midfielders in winning the middle of the field. If you can win the middle of the field in any game, you have a great chance of winning the game."