GLADWIN – If you are like me when you hear the name Erik Seebeck you immediately think of soccer and rightly so. Erik has been a fixture on the Gladwin High School soccer team for four years, but there is more to the man than soccer. He is a multisport athlete who is also an excellent student.
Seebeck is a member of the National Honor Society and plans to attend Northern Michigan University where he wants to major in Environmental Science. He is familiar with Northern after attending an Environmental Science camp there last summer. The week-long camp allowed the participants to explore various aspects of the field. It was a hands-on experience in which they explored some of the local rock formations and did some fisheries work and water sampling on the Au Train River.
Erik has had the opportunity to work as an independent study student with Mr. Donahue this year. This allows his to spend time with the Department of Natural Resource Fisheries and Wildlife Departments. It has given him a chance to explore possible career fields before he goes off to Northern Michigan.
As an avid outdoorsman he has spent a lot of time hunting, fishing and in other outdoor pursuits. He duck hunts with his dad almost every weekend during the season. They also built and maintain the bike trails at the Gladwin Sportsmans Club, and groom the cross-country ski trails if there is enough snow. As if that wasn’t enough they also spend some time in the summer keeping the Cedar River clear for, kayakers and canoeists, between the Sportsman Club and Wiggins Lake.
Seebeck has been playing soccer as long as he can remember starting in the Gladwin recreational leagues when he was in preschool. He played in Gladwin until third grade before a group of Gladwin kids started traveling to Midland to play in a Midland coed league. Once he got to high school he was back in Gladwin playing on the varsity team.
He didn’t start as a freshman and played either midfield or forward. His career took off when he was moved to the defense as a sophomore. He played as a side defender for the next two years before moving to sweeper this year. As sweeper he was the quarterback of the defense. His job was control the defensive end by keeping everyone in there proper position. He was also often the last resort on defense defending against runs by the opposition.
Seebeck is blessed with a strong leg meaning he taken most of the free kicks and many of the goal kicks for the last two years. He also has an uncanny ability to make a slide tackle without committing a penalty. A highlight of the season occurred when he scored on a free kick from behind the midfield line.
“Erik has been a part of our soccer program since third grade,” said soccer coach Jerome Smalley. “As a manager he was always enthusiastic; he rarely ever missed a practice or game. His hard work and dedication to soccer made him one of the best players I have ever coached. He will be sorely missed.” Seebeck was named 1st Team All Conference, and to the All-Region Team and was voted Honorable Mention All State.
Soccer seems to run in his family. Younger sister Anna is a freshman and will play this year. Cousin Lauren Seebeck is the second leading scorer in Gladwin girl’s history with 110 points, and she also holds the school record for assists with 26. Cousins Brendon Seebeck and Max Wentworth were also good players for the high school team. Erik mentioned that Max was one of the “best goalkeepers” ever to play at Gladwin High School. Younger cousin Katie is in eighth grade and will probably also play in the future.
With such a strong leg it was only natural that he would eventually kick for the football team. His first experience on the football field came in eighth grade when he was a running back and linebacker. When his first kickoff attempt went into the end zone for a touchback he became a kicker fulltime. From there he went on to kick for the Gladwin Varsity Football Team for four years
“Erik is an extremely talented kicker. We’re going to miss his consistency tremendously next year,” said football coach Marc Jarstfer. “Being a dual sport athlete in the fall (with soccer) required him to put in extra effort on his own, because of practice schedule conflicts, to be successful. This was never an issue and we could always count on him to be prepared come Friday nights. More importantly Erik is a hard worker in the classroom and an exceptional young man. I look forward to watching him move on to college and know that he’ll be successful in whatever he chooses to do.”
Seebeck also plays baseball. He divided his time between second base and catcher on the varsity team last year and also plays on the American Legion Lightning team in the summer. Troy Gary coaches both teams and said, “Erik is the ultimate competitor. Erik is the type of player and teammate who is willing to play any position. “It doesn’t matter what position I ask him to play he is 100% committed to helping the team out. He is a quiet leader who just comes to practice works hard the entire time. He is a leader by example. An athletic team can win a lot of games with players like Erik Seebeck.