Scoring a spot in Springfield

Oakmont High striker signs on to play soccer at Missouri State
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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A passion for the game of soccer has pushed Oakmont High senior Cole Alexander to new heights once again.


The high-scoring Viking has made a name for himself as one of the most aggressive offensive players around. The next beneficiary of Alexander’s attacking style will be Missouri State University, where he will play soccer in the fall.


“The first thing we noticed about him is that he loves the ball,” said Missouri State head coach John Leamy. “He is a bright kid and he can do it all. Cole has the desire to attack and he is very creative with the ball.”


For Alexander, it is the opportunities on the pitch that take him to Springfield.


“I knew that no matter where I went to school I would get a good education,” Alexander said. “I wanted to play soccer.”


His love of the game began early in life, as he was drawn to the movement of the game. The San Juan Soccer Club star tried baseball when he was younger, but found the game too stagnant. He discovered that soccer allowed him to get his creative juices flowing, and has been involved with competitive club soccer since he was eight.


“I didn’t like baseball because I am very impatient,” Alexander said. “I really enjoying the ability to improvise that comes with soccer. There are so many different options and you have to be constantly thinking. I love the creativity.”


His high school coach at Oakmont, Mark Broers, saw something in Alexander very early on. Elite scorers are rare at the high school level, and Alexander clearly was one.


I was always very impressed with Cole's ability to beat defenders from the time I met him his sophomore year,” Broers said. “He was also able to finish and score many goals in each of his three varsity seasons at Oakmont. As an avid soccer fan and constant student of the game, I recognize that any player possessing both of these attributes is special.” 


In addition to his incredible knack for the game he loves to play, Broers likes what Alexander brings as a student, in the classroom and on the field.


I hope that he learned from a few of the teachable moments we shared over the years and I think he will be a great help to his new coach and school,” Broers said. “Cole is a tremendous student in the classroom and will have no problem competing on a college level while maintaining his good academic standing.”


Alexander is one of the early products of the new California Development Academy. A year ago, his San Juan competitive club joined forces with Placer United to form CDA, providing an opportunity for its players to take the game to another level.


“In high school and club soccer, you see good players, but you see the same players over and over,” Alexander said. “With CDA, training was even very competitive as you had to work just for your spot on the team. The diversity of teams and new players we saw took the game to a whole new level.”


For a player that has aspirations of a professional soccer career, the chance to push his game to the limit was a huge opportunity for Alexander. He is hoping to get on the field right away for the Bears, and is prepared to spend his summer working to make that happen.


“Cole has a great work ethic, and he is driven and intelligent enough to make good things happen,” Leamy said. “You never really know with a freshman when they will be ready to get on the field. They are all on different clocks, and you never know which players will be able to move on beyond college. We know that he will get a good level of competition here and have an opportunity to do great things.”


Alexander follows a former San Juan club teammate to the Midwest. Johannes Demarzi just finished his Bear career and is now working on getting to the next level with the game. The link to Demarzi played a role in Leamy noticing Alexander and his eventually winding up at Missouri State, and his success at the collegiate level can certainly prove a strong example for the Oakmont senior.


As he heads off to Springfield, Alexander has a desire to be a part of lifting the Missouri State program to new heights, something he had a part in at Oakmont. When Broers and Alexander first arrived with the Viking varsity, the team began a revival that has brought new energy to the program.


“Cole's opportunity to move on to the next level of soccer is a proud moment for our current men's soccer team and school,” Broers said. “Oakmont has had many in the past move on to play collegiate soccer and even a few that made it professionally for a time, but he is the first during my three-year run as coach at OHS. The level of coaching at the club and high school level that the boys and girls get in our area is tremendous and it's amazing to me how many of them do go on to play in college and stick with it for four years


Alexander hopes his preparation and his passion allow him to play the game a lot longer even than that.


Alexander profile:

Cole Alexander

17 years old, 5-foot-10, 165 lbs, forward

Other college options: “I was considering UC Davis and Irvine before I came into contact with the coach at Missouri State.”

Greatest soccer moment: Hat trick this year against the undefeated granite bay, or upper-v bicycle kick  against Rocklin (“Even though it didn't count.”).

If not soccer, what sport?: “If I didn't play college soccer, I would strongly consider becoming the kicker for the football team.”

Current music on your I-Pod: Good Life by One Republic.

Ideal vacation: “To just have an unending supply of money, and  driving cross country, stopping along the way to do whatever seemed  fun at the time, or tour Europe.”

Soccer player you would want to be: “I'd be Cristiano Ronaldo. For one, he's blazingly quick and his creativity on the ball is something I admire. Oh, and the ladies love him.”

Toughest matchup: “My best friend Kody Duff because we've played with each other for so long we know each other’s style of play and have to adjust for it every time and work twice as hard to play each other.