Male Athlete of the Week: Versatile Tiemeyer leads charge for Rams soccer

Kyle Tiemeyer

STRASBURG – Kyle Tiemeyer didn’t expect to be the focal point of the offensive attack for Strasburg High School’s boys soccer team this spring. Rams head coach Joel Ross didn’t necessarily expect it either.

Tiemeyer, a junior who had spent his first two varsity seasons playing as a defender and a midfielder, figured to hold down a spot as one of the Rams’ wing midfielders this season, a position he primarily played last year. But injuries and other circumstances opened a hole at center forward this spring, and Ross selected Tiemeyer to fill it.

“Kyle was sort of my third choice at that position,” Ross said before practice Wednesday. “… But he’s been fantastic at that position. He may not stay there just because he’s also better at some of the other positions than some of the other guys I might put there, but we’re not losing anything by putting him in that position.”

Quite the contrary – Strasburg seems to be gaining plenty by having the versatile Tiemeyer at the forefront of an offensive attack that features plenty of experienced talent. The junior proved that in a win over Shenandoah County rival Stonewall Jackson on March 29.

Tiemeyer, building on a two-goal performance in the season opener against Skyline, matched that output while adding two assists against the Generals in Strasburg’s 5-0 win.

For his production early in the 2016 season, Tiemeyer has been named the Northern Virginia Daily’s Male Athlete of the Week for March 28-April 3.

“I felt really good (about) that game and we all did going in,” Tiemeyer said of the victory. “We felt since this is probably the strongest we’ve ever been this year, we felt like we could do great things. We just went out and gave it all we got. We were all working together really well that night, I can honestly say.”

Tiemeyer notched his first goal of the Stonewall match in the 22nd minute before he assisted on Josue Medrano’s goal in the closing minutes of the first half. Tiemeyer’s second goal of the evening gave the Rams a 3-0 lead with 22 minutes to play, and he assisted on the first of Vincent Volpini’s two late goals to cap off his performance.

“He was the point man. He was the guy we were trying to find all night,” Ross said of Tiemeyer. “We had a lot of success with that, so he was often in dangerous areas. I have a lot of guys this year who can score and who can pass very well. He’s certainly one of them. He’s one of the faster and more physical guys, which is a big improvement from the last couple years.”

Ross added that in the first two years of his varsity career, Tiemeyer would sometimes get pushed off the ball by stronger and more physical defenders. That has happened far less frequently this spring.

“He’s just gotten bigger,” Ross said. “… In both the Stonewall and in the Skyline game, he’s been able to use his shoulder, his hip to keep control of the ball when he’s in the one-on-one situations.”

Tiemeyer, who has already surpassed his output from last season and leads the Rams (2-2) with four goals this spring, said he’s also become more self-assured when he possesses the ball.

“Definitely I’ve learned to be more confident with the ball,” he said. “Especially like my freshman year when I played with players that were much older than me … I would get the ball and pass it off at first. But then I just learned to keep it and be confident with it and shoot whenever I could, and make smart decisions.”

Powered in part by the production of Tiemeyer – who has played every position except center defense and goalkeeper in his Strasburg career and has been “all over the offensive map” this season, according to Ross – the Rams started the spring 2-0 for the first time since at least 2007. Strasburg has since dropped two straight matches – a 1-0 defeat to Clarke County last week and a blowout loss to Group 2A powerhouse George Mason on Tuesday – but Tiemeyer said the Rams’ confidence remains unshaken.

“I mean, we weren’t expecting a win from George Mason, so it’s still really high up there and we know we’re gonna have a really good season and we’re gonna do great things,” Tiemeyer said.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com