After earning the regional championship title in a penalty kick win against Naperville North last season, Wheaton Warrenville South soccer players Joe Spera and Michael Stelletello have high aspirations for their final high school season. Both players hope to improve upon last year’s 13-9-2 record and reach the sectional final game in the state playoffs.
Names: Joe Spera and Michael Stelletello
Age/year in school (incoming): 17/Senior (Spera); 16/Senior (Stelletello)
Position: Center back (Spera and Stelletello)
How long have you played soccer? 12 years (Spera and Stelletello)
What do you love most about soccer?
Spera: Working as a team and the challenge of playing 80 minutes against a good team. Soccer gives me a thrill when I make a great play and when we perform well as a team.
Stelletello: I love defending and being able to play and compete alongside friends.
What are your goals for the upcoming season? How will you achieve them?
Spera: I want my team to get to the sectional finals this season. We just have to work hard every single practice and play our hearts out like it is our last game.
Stelletello: I hope that as a team we can go farther in the state playoffs than we did last year, so getting to the sectional final or farther would be huge for us. We plan to achieve [that] by keeping good possession, moving the ball, and finishing our opportunities when they come.
How do you motivate yourself to train during the summer?
Spera: I tore my ACL during the offseason, so getting a chance to begin playing again in September really motivates me. I work out every day and get a lot of touches with the ball.
Stelletello: I have to remind myself that I’ll need to be in great shape in order to stay competitive against the great teams in our area during the season, and if I don’t prepare now then I won’t be able to keep up with them.
Who has inspired you most in your athletic endeavors?
Spera: Derrick Rose. He tore his ACL but never put his head down. He has worked really hard during his rehab and will be better than ever. I want to follow his lead and be better than before my injury.
Stelletello: My former club coach Scott Meineke, who coached me for about four or five years. [He] really taught me how the game works and how to succeed in it.