GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - As the Green Bay men's soccer team prepares to kick off regular-season play Thursday, Sept. 1 at SIU-Edwardsville (SIUE), it will look to senior Stuart Grable (Neenah, Wis.) to help get the Kelderman era off to a fast start. Despite losing five starters from the 2010 roster, Green Bay features several talented players, like Grable, that have dedicated a lot of time in the offseason to help the Phoenix be successful.
"I worked on taking on the role as a creator in setting up my teammates for goals, scoring goals myself and doing anything I can to help the team out," said Grable. "With this team, the sky is the limit."
While Grable looks forward to a successful senior campaign, he also acknowledges how fortunate he is to be finishing his career being coached by the same blood with which his career started. Kris Kelderman's father, Harry coached Grable at Neenah High School, and the duo led the Rockets to its most recent 2007 state championship, the same year Grable was named the Wisconsin Player of the Year.
"One of the first things he (Kris) said when I met him was that he was sorry I had to be coached by another Kelderman," Grable said. "I'm glad I have the opportunity to be coached by both of them. It's a good way to start and definitely a great way to finish my playing career."
The fondness is mutual as both Kris and Harry enjoy(ed) the privilege of coaching a talented player like Grable and look forward to his future success this season.
"When I first got hired I talked to my dad about the kind of player Stu was and what he thought his strengths and weaknesses were," said Kris. "I expect and am comfortable that wherever we play him, he will produce. He's such a hard worker and does whatever is asked of him."
"He's a very hard-working youngster. He's a quiet, productive player who makes the most of his opportunities," Harry said. "From what I've seen, I think he's a better player now than he's ever been, especially with playing in so many different positions."
In high school, Grable played in the forward position before playing a role in the defensive and midfield positions at Green Bay. This season, Kelderman finds Grable most effective in the same position his father Harry did in high school.
"We're confident Stu can be effective anywhere we put him on the field," Kelderman said. "Some of my father's fondest memories came when Stu was there playing for him and I think that says a lot."
Harry credits Grable's experience playing with the FC Milwaukee club team as part of his success in high school and is confident his son will bring out the best in the team captain's final season at Green Bay.
"I think Kris has the experience and knowledge of the game to bring Stu to the highest level he's ever played at," said the WSCA Hall of Fame Coach. "I also think he's going to put the young man where he'll be most effective with the team concept in mind."
Throughout his collegiate career, Grable has stepped on the field every game for the Phoenix while starting every contest since the beginning of his sophomore campaign. Kelderman looks to get Grable closer to the goal this season and from that point is confident his work ethic will pay off.
"He's a very good leader and has a lot of respect from others just by how he conducts himself," Kelderman said. "If anything he may be too hard on himself, but that's just because he expects perfection and is willing to work until he achieves it."
Green Bay (0-0) vs. SIUE (1-0)... The Phoenix opens regular season play Thursday at SIUE at 7 p.m. at Korte Stadium in Edwardsville, Ill. The Cougars are 1-0 in the young season after a 3-1 upset victory at No. 29 Tulsa on Aug. 27. Thursday's game will be the first for Green Bay under new head coachand the season home opener for SIUE.
It will be the second meeting between the two squads with the last being in 1993 at the Marquette Tournament in Milwaukee, resulting in a 2-1 Green Bay win.Fans can watch Thursday's game for free here. The Phoenix will continue its road trip on Saturday, Sept. 3 as it travels to No. 37 Bradley (2-0) for a 7 p.m. contest.