Kilbourne’s Wiet recognized as state’s top boys soccer player


Worthington Kilbourne senior Matt Wiet will continue his career at Indiana. (Photo by Suzie Feehan)

Matt Wiet could be considered the ultimate team player. Whether positioned at midfield or on defense, Wiet proved to be a key
force during his four-year career as a member of the Worthington
Kilbourne High School boys soccer team. Wiet is the Huntington Bank/Ohio High Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Matt Wiet could be considered the ultimate team player.

Whether positioned at midfield or on defense, Wiet proved to be a key force during his four-year career as a member of the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys soccer team.

Wiet, who took over the center defensive back position approximately midway through the season, capped his brilliant career at Kilbourne by leading the Wolves to their second consecutive regional title game appearance.

Kilbourne saw its state title hopes end following a hard-fought 1-0 loss to Dublin Jerome on Nov. 1.

The Wolves finished 18-3 overall.

For his efforts, Wiet has been Ohio High School Magazine’s Player of the Year.

Wiet’s other postseason accolades include being named Player of the Year in the state by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association. He also was named Player of the Year in the Central District and OCC-Central Division. Wiet is a two-time Player of the Year in the OCC, and two-time all-district and all-state player.

“I would easily give up all those awards for my team to win a state championship,” Wiet said. “For how much they’ve given me, that’s the least I could do. In a heartbeat I would do it.”

“Matt doesn’t advertise for himself,” Kilbourne coach Jon Sprunger said. “A lot of his recognition is through hard work and leadership, and what people see. Some people are showboats, some people talk trash. Matt doesn’t do that. He does his job and plays hard and plays aggressive. I’ve never seen him play dirty. I’ve never seen him get upset.”

This season, Wiet scored two goals and had eight assists, and proved to be a solid force as the team’s final line of defense in front of keeper Paul Hendricks.

He began the season as midfielder in the team’s 3-5-2 alignment before taking over the top defensive role in a 4-4-2 formation.

The defense allowed 11 goals and helped the team record 13 shutouts.

“It was harder when I was younger because it was hard to accept the role of being a defender,” Wiet said of switching positions. “Now I realize how much I love defense. It was hard because the glory goes to the forwards even though the defense is usually the reason why the forwards can do what they do. It’s a lot more fun now and I’m a lot more willing to play any position because I realize more now than ever that it’s for the team.”

“Matt has enough playing experience where I would even come to him and say, ‘here’s who we’re playing this week, this is what they’ve got, what do you think about this formation or that formation’ and he would give me his ideas and I would say ‘where do you see yourself in that formation,’” Sprunger said. “A lot of times he would say, I’ll play wherever you need me. It’s not about scoring goals, it’s not about the recognition, it’s just about where does the team need me to play.”

Last season, the Wolves also reached the regional final, falling to eventual state champion Hilliard Davidson 1-0.

“Matt has been a starter on the varsity team for four years,” Sprunger said. “He’s been a leader. He was named captain his junior and seniors year, but he was really a leader all four years.”

Wiet, 18, plans on continuing his education and soccer career at Indiana University, as he recently made a verbal commitment to attend the major Division I school.

Wiet also considered UCLA, Wake Forest, Ohio State and Cincinnati, and noted that the decision came down to Indiana and Wake Forest.

Wiet follows Danny O’Rourke, who graduated from Kilbourne in 2001 after leading the Wolves to the 2000 state title and went on to enjoy an illustrious soccer career at Indiana. O’Rourke helped the Columbus Crew win the Major Soccer League title this season.

“It’s been a dream of mine ever since I was a little kid,” Wiet said of Indiana. “I looked up to Danny O’Rourke and saw what he did. I guess I set my goals and went from there.”

Wiet began playing the sport at age six as a member of the Worthington Youth Boosters Program, and then took the sport seriously at age 10 when he began playing club soccer.

Wiet is currently playing under-18 soccer for the Crew Soccer Academy. The team traveled to the Lancaster National Soccer Center in Lancaster, Calif., Dec. 5-8 for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s winter showcase.

Wiet credits former Crew standouts Rob Smith and Billy Thompson, and Sprunger for his development in the sport. Thompson, who attended UCLA and was named the collegiate Player of the Year in 1990, is a coach for the Crew Soccer Academy.

“Coach Sprunger has been my guy for the past four years,” Wiet said. “He helps me out not just with soccer, he helps me out with life. It wasn’t that he helped me with soccer as much as becoming a person and realizing that what I was doing was the right thing and I needed to keep doing it.”

Wiet also excels in the classroom where he boasts a 4.05 grade point average.

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