BLAKE LARGENT ‘22 | SPORTS EDITOR •
After playing in nine games as a freshman last season, in which the Wabash soccer team went 7-1-1, sophomore midfielder Adam Berg ’22 saw his year conclude prematurely after a devastating ACL injury took him out for the remainder of the season.
“We were playing Hiram, I think at home,” Berg said when explaining his injury. “I was defending a guy and he came one way and then cut the other way. When I turned, my foot planted, and my knee turned and (the ACL) just kind of went like that. I didn’t notice it right away. It wasn’t one of the traumatic injuries where you fall down. I finished the first half and then came out, which is when the trainer did her two tests. She pulled my leg up and it had separated.”
Berg continued to speak of the emotional effects of the injury once he knew he would be out for the rest of the year.
“A super tough moment was at the next practice and being in the team huddle we do before every practice and telling the boys I was out for the season. The emotional strain that had on me, I remember that specifically.”
Despite not being able to play in the remaining 10 matches, including the postseason matchup against Kenyon College, head coach Chris Keller said Berg had a huge impact on the team from the bench.
“I would start by saying the impact was definitely felt both ways,” Berg said of his coach’s remarks. “But being that presence at practice, even though you’re injured, and still hyping guys up, asking people about their day, and having these intentional and meaningful conversations with people, I think, is very important. Just showing that passion and that interest and that love for not just soccer, but specifically Wabash soccer, which is so special.”
Although Berg was emotionally impactful to the team throughout the season, he was adamant in saying that his fellow teammates and coaches were also supportive and impactful to him.
“I’d have to say that support came my way as well,” he said. “I would come to practice and have guys checking on me and asking how I was doing
or how I was feeling or how rehab was going. That was huge. The day after my surgery, I was lying in bed when Coach Keller and Coach Ian both came to Indy to check on me, which was awesome. And all throughout my rehab, people were just supporting me and telling me they couldn’t wait until I was back. Now I’m back, and it’s the best feeling ever.”
Outside of playing soccer, Berg is planning on majoring in Spanish with a minor in chemistry. He plans on attending medical school after Wabash
and is currently on the pre-med track. While he is unsure of which school he will attend after his time at Wabash, he expressed an interest in returning to his home state of Washington to continue his studies. When asked about moving from Washington to Crawfordsville, Indiana, Berg spoke of the transition and his experience in coming to Wabash.
“It was definitely different,” he said. “I mean, first it was the heat when I first got here and the humidity. Then the weather started getting better and it was nice, the fall was just regular to me. Then late October and November starts to roll around and I was thinking, ‘What is going on?’ I felt both extremes. “But, for the most part, it was an easy transition.”
During high school in Washington, Berg attended Charles Wright Academy and graduated with around 65 to 70 students in his class. Because of his high school’s smaller size, Berg says he did not have to largely adjust to Wabash’s size upon his arrival.
“No, and that’s one of the reasons I chose Wabash, because it was small,” Berg said when asked if Wabash’s small size was an adjustment. “I was looking for a smaller school and I wanted to leave Washington just to kind of explore. Then I got the chance to play soccer here and I knew it was an academically challenging school.”
Berg first heard of Wabash from his now head coach Chris Keller, and upon Keller’s advice, he chose to attend Wabash College.
“The first time I heard about (Wabash), it was my junior year and I was playing in a showcase soccer tournament,” Berg said. “Coach Keller was out in Washington recruiting, so we started talking after he watched a game of mine and he told me that Wabash pays to fly people out here. So, I came out and I loved my visit here.”
At Wabash, Berg is involved in many activities both on and off-campus. He is a brother of FIJI and is now the president of the Spanish Club, to which he said, “We’ve got a couple of El Charro dinners coming up, which is always fun.” Berg is sophomore representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and also works with Special Olympics Indiana. He will also be working with homeschool students at the public library, where he will be teaching them Spanish in classes. Lastly, Berg works at a free clinic in Crawfordsville where he currently translates for Hispanic patients.
While Berg has a busy schedule, he spoke of what he enjoys doing during his relaxation time at Wabash.
“I do enjoy, with (Keith Owen ’20), every once in a while, going out for a walk through the city and it’s really calm at night. It’s pretty peaceful and quiet, there aren’t many cars coming through. We will go to the little park area downtown and just chill out there and talk, which is super fun.”
In terms of the soccer team, Berg spoke highly of what makes the team special to him.
“The people on the team come from very different areas,” he said. “I come from Washington and I don’t know how much I bring from there. But there’s a large group of guys from Texas, lots from El Paso. There are freshmen this year who aren’t from El Paso but still from southern Texas. We’ve got a couple guys from Chicago, one guy from Michigan. (Others) are from New York. It’s just super interesting to see that mix and the different experiences. There’s always this talk about which hometown is better.”
And, when Berg was asked if he would like any other information to be known about him, he humbly spoke about the team rather than himself.
“Soccer-wise, we have a ton of talent, especially with this freshman class coming in,” he said. “Something that Coach Keller has been really trying to pound into us is that without hard work, that talent isn’t going to do anything. We played Franklin on Friday, and we knew going in that they weren’t going to be the strongest. We’re going to face those kinds of teams this season, not so much in our conference because the conference is strong. But just having that mentality and the respect for your opponent, even if you know from the scouting report that they aren’t the strongest, and then going in and using that skill and that effort to beat the ‘easier’ opponents. That creates this work ethic and this way that you approach every game, so that when we go play Kenyon or we play (Ohio Wesleyan) that those games are no different. The goal is to make it to the national tournament this year.”
Berg, who has since recovered from his injury, will now be able to make an impact both on and off the field for the team this season. And, with the Wabashsoccer team looking to make a return to the North Coast Athletic Conference men’s soccer tournament for a fourth-straight season, Berg’s impact could put the Little Giants to reach his personal goal of playing in the national tournament.