Parker Siegfried is two games away from capping a decorated Ohio State men’s soccer career.
The redshirt senior goalkeeper is currently No. 5 on the Buckeyes’ all-time leaderboard for most career shutouts with 17. He is approaching former goalie Dave Scheer’s 19 career shutouts from 1985-88, good for No. 4 in Ohio State history.
Though it’s now dropped four straight games, Ohio State began its year with a stark turnaround from a one-win season in 2018 to win six of its first 11 games, thanks to five clean sheets from Siegfried.
Siegfried may be in his final season with the Buckeyes, but he said he doesn’t have time to think about hanging up his cleats or revel in his achievements.
“You obviously think about that stuff, but you have to play your best day in and day out and just hope that you see where the cards fall and hope it is in your favor as much as possible,” Siegfried said.
Siegfried said shutouts are not his priority going into a match; earning a win for the team is.
“At the end of the day, I am just doing my best every time I can to just make the team win. I would rather win 10-9 than tie 0-0,” Siegfried said.
The path to success has not been easy, however. Rebounding from a rough 1-15-2 season a year ago makes this season feel better for the redshirt senior. During his Buckeye tenure, Siegfried has endured a grueling sequence of coaching turnover, featuring four different goalkeeper coaches in five years.
“As soon as you get used to someone, they are gone,” Siegfried said. “Having to get through that has been tough at times, but it is really good right now.”
He praises the leadership on the men’s soccer team for the difference in the win column this season.
“That is one thing that I think we are lucky with right now and why we are having the success that we are having,” Siegfried said. “We are a locker room full of leaders. There are so many guys helping, and they make it a lot easier.”
The team saw players stepping up and forming bonds dating back to off-season practices. All of that time spent together since then has led to more of a brotherly connection among the players, junior forward Matteo Bennati said.
“With these guys, it is all about the relationships we have built over the spring and summer, even outside of the field,” Bennati said. “We have been able to create this environment and be this kind of attached and cadre about each other, just made everything easier and joyful.”
Siegfried credits his goalkeeping skills to his training with the Olympic Development Program at age 12.
“I was like, ‘I am going to do ODP as a goalie. I think I am good at it.’ I just stuck doing it and found a passion in it,” Siegfried said.
As he grew older and gained more experience, Siegfried watched other, professional goalkeepers and found similarities between their game and his.
“I love Joe Hart [Premier League club Burnley], but if you look at him, then look at me, we are pretty different people. But my play is similar to Hugo Lloris [Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur],” Siegfried said. “He is someone that I look at and try and emulate because I think we are similar goalkeepers with similar athletic ability.”
In his first few years in the program, Siegfried’s observations from the sidelines and on the practice field helped him foster the qualities that helped him turn into a stalwart in goal.
“[Former goalie] Chris Froschauer was really good my freshman year. He was a good mentor, got drafted, played in the MLS for a bit,” Siegfried said. “[Former midfielder] Brady Blackwell was a really good competitor and a good soccer mind, so being able to play with him for four years was huge.”
The passion Siegfried has for the game drives his work ethic, head coach Brian Maisonneuve said.
“His consistency, he comes every single day, not only in the games but in training,” Maisonneuve said. “You talk about a guy who comes every single day to work and to get better, that is Parker.”
Not only does Siegfried hold his own in the goal box, but he makes sure his competitive nature rubs off on the rest of his teammates.
“He is our captain for a reason. Everybody goes to Parker. His door is always open,” Maisonneuve said. “Everybody knows how much his teammates mean to him. Whether it is keepers or field players, Parker has a great mind for the game, and in small-sided games you can always hear him being the coach on the field, which is fantastic.”
The Buckeyes have two conference games remaining before the start of the Big Ten Tournament Nov. 9.