While goalkeeper Stuart Heringer spent the past few years of his soccer career playing around the country, to him, nothing feels quite like returning to his hometown of Salem, Ore. to play in his rookie season with Atletico, Capital Futbol Club's USL Two team.
Heringer, 20, born and raised in South Salem, Ore., has captivated Salem audiences with his remarkable journey through the world of soccer. From his early beginnings in Capital FC's youth recreational programs to his current role as a goalkeeper for Atletico, Heringer's unwavering dedication and love for the game have shaped his impressive career.
When he was 7, Heringer's parents, Suzie and Weston Heringer, put him into soccer alongside his three siblings, Rachel, Abigail, and Alistair. As he grew into the sport, Heringer quickly fell in love with the position and the exhilaration of making crucial saves that came with being a goalkeeper.
"My favorite part [about being a goalkeeper] is it's an individual sport within a sport," Heringer said. "But it's the villain mentality a little bit too. When you score a goal, everyone grows crazy. But there's something about it for me when another player makes a shot they think is going in and just the disappointment on their face when it doesn't."
Over the years, Heringer’s love for the game has only deepened, driving him to continually push himself and strive for improvement. Throughout his 13-years of playing soccer, his journey has taken him from various clubs, including training with The Timbers Academy, to a memorable senior year at Shattuck-St. Mary's Academy, a boarding school in Faribault, Minn. The move to Minnesota amidst COVID-19 presented Heringer with new challenges, including adapting to the freezing temperatures, but it also allowed him to forge lifelong friendships and gain valuable experiences.
"Being in Minnesota was different," Heringer said. "I've never experienced a cold like that. One day I walked to breakfast one morning, and it was -20°F with windchill. But I met some good friends like Ryan Keffee, who's on Atletico this year, and I still talk with other guys I played with. It was a really good experience."
Representing his hometown of Salem has been a source of immense gratification for Heringer, who said fans there are loyal like no other. From dedicated coaches to the unwavering support and sacrifices from his family, he recognizes the integral role the community has played in his soccer journey.
Thinking over his soccer career, there is one standout moment that Heringer will never forget.
At 13, Heringer scored his only goal in his career thus far as a goalkeeper. More significantly to him, however, the shot was the game-winning play against Alaska Development Program (ODP), the team
Atletico head coach Joe Wentworth coached at the time.
Heringer's unique approach to the game extends beyond physical skills. He believes every successful soccer player should possess confidence, hard work, and a positive mentality. In his upcoming season, Heringer hopes to hone his leadership skills and improve his explosiveness and technical abilities.
To young soccer enthusiasts aspiring to play at the collegiate level or beyond, Heringer emphasizes the importance of fundamentals, teamwork, and self-discovery.
"Focus on being a good teammate," Heringer said. "Have full respect for your coaches, and listen to what they say. But know that they don't have the answers to everything. Eventually you have to find solutions for yourself sometimes and then take little things from other people and form all those things into how you want to be a player."
As Heringer embarks on his rookie soccer season with Atletico, Capital FC's USL Two team, he remains open to various possibilities that soccer will bring to him in the future. Whether continuing to play locally or exploring opportunities abroad, he aims to embrace new experiences and challenges with the same unwavering passion that has propelled him thus far.
Join us in cheering on goalkeeper Stuart Heringer and the rest of the Atletico men on the pitch June 23rd at 7PM at McCulloch Stadium.
To view the Atletico 2023 season schedule and get tickets, click here.
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