At the Warzycha dinner table, soccer is rarely discussed. Still, the sport remains a way of life for the family of five.
Ohio State midfielder Konrad Warzycha didn’t start playing organized soccer until he was 8 years old, but it is no surprise that the game came naturally to him. His father, Robert, played professionally for 18 seasons, overseas and later for the Columbus Crew, where he currently serves as the team’s head coach.
“Everything that I know and how I play is based on how he’s taught me,” Konrad said about his father. “From an early age, he’s always helped out as a coach on my club teams and always given me advice, and I always look to him for advice.”
Konrad was born in Poland and lived in both England and Hungary by the time he was 8 years old. It was not until Robert joined the Crew for the team’s inaugural season in 1996 that Konrad began playing organized soccer in a recreational league in Dublin, Ohio.
“In England there really wasn’t a team for younger kids and in Hungary I went to an all-Polish school and didn’t know many people who played,” Konrad said. “My parents didn’t really know how to go about signing me up for a league.”
Konrad picked up the game quickly and joined a club team, Blast Futbol Club, in 1998. At Dublin Jerome High School, Konrad was twice named team MVP, and was a first-team All-Ohio selection as a senior in 2006.
Konrad is the oldest of Robert and Eliza Warzycha’s three children, but his younger siblings have also found success on the soccer field. His brother, Bartosz, 20, played a collegiate season at Marshall University, while his sister, Olivia, 18, was a 2009 All-Ohio selection her senior year at Dublin Jerome.
Despite his family’s ties to the game, Konrad insists that soccer is not what defines his family and that the game is rarely discussed in the Warzycha household.
“Sure, it’s something that we have in common, but we don’t really talk about it much at home. We just talk about regular family stuff,” Konrad said.
OSU men’s soccer coach John Bluem had been a friend of Robert’s even before Konrad came to OSU and said he sees similarities in the father and son’s style of play.
“His father was known for his powerful right-footed shot, and Konrad has that same kind of strength and power in his right-footed shot,” Bluem said.
Konrad’s senior season at OSU has gotten off to a fast start, as he leads the team in both goals and total points, with four and eight, respectively.
He is 47th on TopDrawerSoccer.com’s rankings of the top collegiate players in the nation.
“He’s off to a very good start,” Bluem said. “He’s a very physically dominating player, with great size, strength and speed. He’s great on the ball and a very good passer. Also, he has the ability to score goals,” Bluem said. “I think he has some more goals in him.”
The Buckeyes (5-2-1) opened conference play with a 1-0 win over Michigan, a trend Konrad hopes will continue as Big Ten play wears on.
“Our goal is to win the Big Ten regular-season title and then make it to at least the third round of the NCAA championships,” Konrad said. “Last year we got a high seed and then didn’t really show up for our first game.”
Bluem said accomplishing those goals will have a lot to do with Konrad’s play on the field.
“We hope he just continues to play well for us and do the things that he does best,” he said. “He’s a heck of a player, and I think he has a future in soccer after college.”
If it were up to Konrad, that future would happen in America, as opposed to returning overseas.
“I definitely want to see if I can play here first because we’ve been here for so long,” he said. “This is where my family is.”