Just a season and a half into his prep career, Medina’s Jared Vidika has established himself as one of the top defenders in Medina County.
The sophomore has played since the age of 3, as well as all over the state with the Cleveland Futbol Club, but it was his backyard where Vidika got the most training against older brothers Nate and Ben.
“I guess when you grow up with two older brothers who beat you up, it pays off in the end,” he joked.
Nate and Ben were both standout players for the Bees. The eldest Vidika was a member of the school’s 2007 regional final team and is currently playing at the University of Findlay. Ben graduated in June after a solid career as a midfielder.
So to say that Jared Vidika was born with a soccer ball at his feet wouldn’t be far from the truth.
“They’ve always taught me a lot and made me strive to be my best,” he said. “Soccer is basically our lives. My oldest brother told me that he always knew that I would be the best of all of us.”
Nate was correct.
In his short time as a varsity player, Jared Vidika has used physical play and overall technical skills to become a leader in every sense of the word from his center back position.
“There’s no doubt he has a good soccer pedigree,” Medina coach Mark Malikowski said. “Nate and Ben were both great players for us and I told Jared when he was in eighth grade that he could be a leader for us.”
Those words weren’t lost on the 5-foot-8, 145-pounder, who is a good mix of a vocal leader and one who sets the tone with how hard he plays.
It’s something Vidika takes a lot of pride in.
“I do expect a lot out of myself — to be a leader and control the game,” the 15-year-old said. “Even being young, everyone has responsibilities and mine is to make others better.
“(Coach Malikowski) told me after my first varsity game last year that I needed to talk and back up that talk, by doing what we need to do.”
This season, the Bees have allowed 10 goals and have recorded six shutouts, which includes a pair of 1-0 victories over Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division foes Strongsville and Hudson.
Vidika admits he is just a small part of a backline that has been nothing short of special.
“Basically me and (senior Ryan) Stenquist played together last year, so we know what each other want to do and that gives us two strong center backs which makes us tough,” Vidika said. “We also have two outside backs (Michael Clendenin and Corbin Kruczek) that make us even tougher.”
While defenders don’t get much ink or credit, Vidika doesn’t mind. He’s a low-key guy, but his play is louder than any newspaper article.
“I don’t have the same size as some guys, but I feel I have an edge because of how physical I am in the back,” he admitted. “There definitely isn’t just one person in the back, so I’m not going to take all the credit, but it’s nice to have all the trust in yourself.”
Limiting himself from making a silly slide tackle or another unnecessary play in the back is what makes Vidika so rugged in the defensive third — not to mention he knows how to clean up plays on corner kicks and challenge for a ball in the air.
“He’s a perfect mix of both a lead by example guy and someone who directs from the back,” Malikowski said. “In my tenure, we’ve only had a couple freshman play varsity, no one had started until Jared and that’s a testament to his abilities.
“He’s blossomed more this year and has really left his stamp.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.