For Saugerties High School junior Seth VanDerbeck, the fall sports season was a bit of a juggling act, as the red-haired teen successfully served as both the goalie of the varsity soccer team and the kicker of the football team.
VanDerbeck was so successful that he was named to the 14-man NYS Section 9, Class A, All Section Team in soccer.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was five,” VanDerbeck said during a recent interview. “I also played football, but I like soccer more because I didn’t like contact sports,” he added with a laugh.
He became a goalie at a young age, but football had its own pull. “I played football when I was in the seventh grade.”
“But soccer was always the sport for me,” he added.
He became a goalie because it most suited his abilities. For a number of years he was a catcher for various Little League teams in Saugerties, something that prepared him to stop a speeding soccer ball rocketing goal-ward.
One of the brightest moments for VanDerbeck this soccer season was getting an assist, a rarity for a goalie. It came in a game against New Paltz. When the ball came at the Saugerties goalie, he punched it out and it traveled to a Saugerties offensive player who took it to the New Paltz net for a goal.
Watching the football games, soccer coach Mike Riley always crossed his fingers that nothing would happen to his star goalie.
“I really try not to think about possibly getting hurt playing football,” said VanDerbeck , although this year he’s had to make a tackle or two. “I try to keep out of the action,” he added.
He got involved in football last year, when his godfather, then-Saugerties High School football coach Lou Denise, asked him if he would like to kick for the team.
“Some of the skills are the same. I punt the soccer ball and kick it, and it’s not much different with a football.”
And despite playing both sports, VanDerbeck is able to keep up with his schoolwork, sometimes staying up late to finish his homework.
In addition to playing soccer and football, VanDerbeck also plays on the high school and American Legion Post 72 baseball teams in the spring and early summer, and this winter he wants to try out for the high school basketball team.
“I really like the challenge,” he added.
As for his future, he wants to go to college for either engineering or computer science. Maybe, like soccer and football, he can juggle both.