Part of soccer’s beauty is how it forces players to be versatile.
Goal-scoring forwards can stand with the opposing defense’s back line but they don’t become true game changers until they aid in ball pressure and help move the counter attack forward. Quality midfielders are not only the link between defense and attack, but cover enough ground to also be the defense and attack.
And some times players are forced to play multiple roles.
Enter Natrona County’s Reegan Chadderdon. The junior started the season at forward and played goalkeeper while the team was short-staffed during spring break. He’s since played as a wide midfielder, with a pension for using his speed down the side to move the attack forward.
“I feel really comfortable as the striker,” Chadderdon said. “The top one where I can stay in the middle, make that back-side run or check two and play that target player, play it out wide.”
His four goals were valuable to start the season and his previous goalkeeper training gave him confidence in goal when he was needed there.
At their best, the Mustangs went undefeated through seven games near the start of the season. They’ve struggled since then, but the Mustangs’ adaptability has given them multiple looks. It’s just a matter of figuring out which one works best for each game.
“Reegan’s been huge for us,” Natrona County head coach Chad Miller said. “He can play out wide as a wide midfielder or we can put him up, too. Great work ethic, great speed as well so he can always challenge for the ball.
“With the other kids on the team we have versatility so we can move people around to fit the holes. So I’m just happy with their performance.”
Chadderdon likes playing with fellow speedy wide midfielder Jordan Milby and senior captain Nic Gindulis, both of which lead the Mustangs with eight goals. Their chemistry together has only improved throughout the season.
Along with players Max Radosevich and Davin Camp, the Mustangs have a core of confidence that makes them a quiet contender in the state tournament. After all, they’ve only begun to hit their groove.
“For the most part I’m pretty comfortable with where I am,” Chadderdon said. “I understand where I need to be. Sometimes we’ll mix it up and go in the top three just to give the defense a little change just so they aren’t seeing the same attack.”
To him, the biggest problem with the Mustangs’ April slump dealt with the lack of connection. They naturally shied away from the complete team play that worked so well in the opening month of the season. The shift to individual, position-focus hurt the Mustangs that play their best game in space between positions.
“We really got together and had a little pow-wow,” Chadderdon said. “We started talking better and now we’re playing as a team better.”
Another component to a soccer team’s successful versatility, especially in Wyoming, is adapting to the elements.
All teams in the West Regional braved delays and soggy turf at Green River, but the Mustangs endured delays, stoppages and late evenings. They’ve come out on the other side of that, equipped to handle the equalizing elements Jackson may throw at them.
“The delays were actually nice because we had time to get together and get that connection as a team again,” Chadderdon said. “And really the weather sucked at first but once we started playing, you just get used to it.
“That’s what we need to do again is get back to that team play and connect as a team.”