Looking back, sophomore Drew Roskos probably could have had a better first year as a student athlete at Delran High School.
After making varsity with the boys soccer team as a freshman — during which he registered his first career goal with the Bears in the team’s third game of the season — Roskos’ season was shut down just four games in due to COVID precautions, in what was the final season at Delran for legendary South Jersey soccer coach Mike Otto.
Just a few months later, while preparing for his upcoming freshman wrestling season, Roskos broke his elbow in practice just two weeks before the first match of the season.
“It was definitely different, because with last year being Coach Otto’s last season and us all knowing that, we were excited to play and keep going,” Roskos said. “And that fact that we only got four games was unfortunate. Then I ended up breaking my elbow before the wrestling season started, and I was super upset about that obviously, because I had been working hard up until that point to make the best I could out of that season.”
But it’s fair to say the bad luck Roskos had during his first 12 months of high school has run its course, allowing for the now sophomore to show just what he can do on the pitch for the Bears.
Through the team’s first 11 games this season, Roskos has registered 14 goals for Delran, en route to a 9-1-1 record thus far. According to NJ.com, Roskos’ 14 goals put him amongst the top-15 goal scorers in the state as of Oct. 6.
According to first year head coach Tommy Orr, Roskos showed obvious potential as a threat on the soccer field early on in his high school career, hence his varsity spot as a freshman. But the elbow injury was a roundabout way for Roskos to gain approximately 10 pounds of muscle and focus specifically on his foot work to be even better in this year’s season.
“His work ethic is unmatched; he’s a good listener and always wants to get better,” Orr said. “Since he wasn’t able to wrestle, he gained some muscle while working hard at what he could at that time. I’ve known [Roskos] since he was about 8 years old through our camps, and he’s always been a hard-working kid and just a natural talent too.”
Due to limited ability with his upper body — and the fact that his wrestling season was technically over before it could really begin — Roskos instead focused primarily on his lower half and soccer technique.
“I couldn’t wrestle or anything at that point, so I just focused on getting my legs stronger and working on my soccer skills in the backyard and with others eventually to help get me ready for this season,” he said. “I definitely got better with the ball over that period of time; I felt more prepared than ever for this soccer season.”
The sophomore has been a strong presence in front of opposing goalkeepers, having scored at least one goal in 10 straight games to open the season, before Delran suffered its first loss in a close 1-0 contest with rival Cinnaminson.
Looking at the talent on the field and what he’s seen from his team, Orr believes in his team’s ability to bounce back from a loss; sometimes, it’s just what a team needs to reach the next level of play.
“We’ve been rolling lately and a lot of that’s due to the 19 returners and 13 seniors that we have back this year,” Orr said. “They’ve hungry after only getting those four games last year … Looking at today, obviously nobody wants to lose, but sometimes with a special group, as unhappy as we are about it, it’s exactly what you need to humble you after a great first half of the season.
“This can serve as a wakeup call to bring that initial fire back,” he added, “so hopefully this is that kind of loss.”