Aiden Moore prepares for next season after sickness and injury keep him out
A Lee soccer player made a sudden transition from striker to water boy and learned a new meaning of keeping your head in the game.
Freshman business administration major Aiden Moore began his first season with Lee men’s soccer with a powerful display of finesse and skill. However, after contracting mono and shattering his foot, Moore invested in the team in an unforeseen way—from the sidelines.
Moore explained that remaining involved in the team when he knew he wouldn’t be able to play was a tough decision, but he committed himself to helping in the ways that he could.
“I knew I was going to be out for an extended period of time,” Moore said. “I could either check out entirely, or realize that I’m still a part of this team and contribute in ways I hadn’t before.”
After securing the starting forward position and scoring five goals within the first few games of regular season, Moore proved to be an integral part of the team.
Men’s Soccer Graduate Assistant Coach Quade Marinell said, when searching for potential players, the coaches look beyond results on the field at work ethic and commitment.
“Coach Potteiger wanted to bring in guys that encapsulated what the Lee soccer program meant,” Marinell said. “Aiden fits that bill perfectly. … I knew within the first couple weeks of pre-season that he would be competing for the starting forward position.”
Moore, on the other hand, didn’t have any concrete goals when he entered the Lee scene.
“I just had no idea what to expect from college soccer,” Moore said. “My goal wasn’t result-based, but that everyone on the team knows I’m going to work as hard as I can every single day and be a good teammate.”
However, after he scored his first goal, his ambitions quickly developed.
“I scored that first goal and something took over me. I was yelling. I was so excited,” Moore said. “It’s probably one of the most addictive feelings in the world. Once you get one, you have to have another.”
Undeclared freshman Jonah Bryan, Moore’s teammate, explained that Moore was able to lead the team by his example.
“Even as a freshman, Aidan was scoring goals for us that only he could score,” Bryan said. “He fought for every goal and put his body on the line many times for the team. He worked so hard on the field that it rubbed off on other players. He just has that special characteristic to him.”
Moore dominated the scene in pre-season and into the regular season, establishing himself as a threat on offense with his quick shots and technical foot skills, according to Marinell. Moore was named the Gulf South Conference Freshman of the Week for two consecutive weeks.
But Moore’s momentum came to a halt when his doctor diagnosed him with mono. The virus benched him for about seven weeks, during the peak of the season. Moore explained he is no stranger to soccer injuries, but mono lacks the bloody glory he would have preferred.
“It was hard for me to accept,” Moore said. “The next challenge was figuring out what my role was now. I had finally understood my role on the field, then I had to re-picture my role off of it.”
The coaches felt similarly disappointed but were impressed by how Moore handled the setback. Moore took it upon himself to be the best teammate possible, even if not in his usual way of scoring goals. He contributed by filling water bottles, traveling with the team to away games and encouraging his teammates at every opportunity.
“Because of the positive environment of the team, it wasn’t as devastating as it could have been,” Moore said.
Bryan explained that Moore was always going the extra mile to promote the team, transforming his leadership as an athlete into leadership from the sidelines.
“He didn't let the excuse of him being sick take away from his contribution to the team,” Bryan said. “He found a way to contribute off the field, simply by being a leader and encouraging our team when we needed it and even when we didn't.”
After weeks of resting, Moore returned in the postseason. But just days after being cleared, Moore broke his foot in a tangle with the goalie in a conference tournament.
“It goes through my head every time I get hurt. Could this be the one that I can’t get back from?” Moore said.
In spite of this injury, Moore said he refuses to let his broken foot end his soccer career.
“In my mind, the issue of not playing anymore is never an option,” Moore said. “It’s just how quickly I can get back.”
Moore is expected to be out of his boot around Christmas and is ready to take on the spring season with both feet running.