Channing Chasten kicks the ball while fighting a Wisconsin player.

Ohio State then-freshman forward Channing Chasten (8) fights for the ball against a Wisconsin player during the Ohio State-Wisconsin game on Nov. 3, 2019. Ohio State lost 0-1. Credit: Ohio State Athletics

Coaches look near and far to find players who will contribute in big ways and not necessarily just in terms of wins.

In addition to his speed and skill with his right foot, sophomore forward Channing Chasten brought his ability to lead with him from his hometown of Queen Creek, Arizona.

Chasten was selected to represent the men’s soccer team on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on Sept. 10 and will serve as a voice and provide feedback to athletic administrators.

“I was pretty surprised,” Chasten said. “To get that honor and privilege as a sophomore, I was pretty excited. Glad to take on the role and be the head figure for our team just to talk about what we want and what we need. Just to be an outlet for them.”

Chasten made his collegiate debut Aug. 30, 2019, in a 4-3 loss at home to California State University-Northridge, a game in which he assisted the second goal of the game for then-senior midfielder Jack Holland.

However, Chasten dealt with a high ankle sprain for most of the season. The nagging injury posed a challenge but also gave him the ability to showcase his leadership. 

“He battled and battled and didn’t complain and just got after it even though you could tell he wasn’t really 100 percent the majority of the season,” head coach Brian Maisonneuve said. “Everybody was cheering for him. They knew what an asset he could be to the team. He just kept working hard and gave whatever he could to the team.”

Chasten played in 16 of Ohio State’s 19 games as a result of a work ethic he said consisted of showing up to the practice field one to two hours early in order to spend time in the trainer’s room.

He worked at remaining healthy while taking care of his ankle. Chasten’s determination made an impact on his teammates, which included 19 upperclassmen.

“I saw a lot of resilience,” redshirt senior defender Samuel Buzzas said. “It took a lot of patience and sacrifice. I was in the training room and would be in there with him every single day and I could see the work that he was putting in, in order to be able to get back onto the field. He was continually choosing to do the right things for him and ultimately benefited the team as well.”

The benefits that came as a result of Chasten’s persistence allowed his teammates to see him as a young and upcoming leader, Buzzas said. In addition to finding teammates on the field, Chasten found ways to connect with them off of it.

“He’s the kind of person who is willing to talk things out with you rather than ignore you or just not even respond,” Buzzas said. “He wants to understand why you think that you are right and, if he can, help you move in the direction that he sees is right.”

Chasten’s character was spotted long before the current coaching regime on the Ohio State men’s soccer team.

Chasten was initially recruited by former head coach John Bleum. He was the only player committed to Ohio State at the time the Buckeyes changed coaching staffs following the 2017 season, Maisonneuve said.

Maisonneuve said he hadn’t seen Chasten play prior to taking the helm at Ohio State, so he invited Chasten to a camp in Indiana to set his eyes on his play style. He came away with more than he expected.

“I wanted to see him play because if they liked him I’m sure I would like him,” Maisonneuve said. “He was the best kid there; he worked the hardest and was so understanding of his teammates. I was overly impressed not only what he did on the field but probably more impressed about who he was off the field.”

The distance and transition from Arizona to Ohio may seem daunting, but he was born in Cleveland and said he has family in Ohio, so the state was not foreign to him.

“It was my dream to come to Ohio State to play soccer because my mom went here,” Chasten said. “There are so many resources that help me feel like I’m at home, and my teammates are like a family to me.”

Chasten said his first few weeks on campus last summer included learning how to balance academics with the demands of college athletics. Fast forward a little less than a year and he is learning more about himself during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Played more video games, I never really was into that,” Chasten said. “For myself, just learning how to reflect on myself and cherish the smaller things in life during these uncertain times.”

The Big Ten Conference’s decision to postpone fall athletics on Aug. 11 halted Chasten’s chance to test his ankle and his work ethic.

But when it’s time for the opening whistle to blow, Chasten said he will be more than ready to retake the pitch.

“I feel really good. I’ve been still working on my ankle, getting it back to almost 100 percent,” Chasten said. “Keeping my fitness levels up even through these uncertain times. I’ve been training pretty much every day, been grinding to get better and prepare for when we have a season.”