Sports Person of the Week
Wildermann Lets His Actions Do the Talking
Senior Jack Wildermann leads the Hand boys’ soccer squad by example, while contributing for the Tigers in a variety of ways on the field. (Photo courtesy of Jack Wildermann )
Jack Wildermann is known as the quiet leader of the Daniel Hand High School boys’ soccer team, but he makes plenty of noise at whatever position he’s patrolling on the pitch.
Jack, a center midfielder, will begin his senior season with the Tigers this week. Last year, Jack played in integral role in helping the squad win its fourth-straight Class L state championship. Now, Jack is looking for a strong finish to his high school career in a sport that he’s been playing for several years.
“I’ve been playing soccer since the age of six. My dad, brother, and uncle got me into it,” says Jack. “My favorite aspect of soccer is the beauty of the game. I feel like no other sport can match its beauty and chemistry when played right.”
This year will mark Greg Cumpstone’s third season working with Jack since becoming Hand’s head coach in 2018. Cumpstone calls Jack a pivotal player for the Tigers on both offense and defense, noting that the game typically runs through the midfielder’s feet.
“Jack is essential to our team. He plays as the pivot or defensive midfielder for us. All of our play stems through him,” Cumpstone says. “Jack links the defense to the attack and is vital in his role. He has the ability to control games with his technical quality and physicality.”
Jack contributed to many notable moments throughout the Tigers’ run to the state title in 2019. During the regular season, he scored a long-shot goal in a 2-1 win against Branford. Then in the Class L semifinals, Jack assisted on a goal that gave Hand an early advantage over Guilford in an eventual 2-1 victory that came down to penalty kicks and avenged the Tigers’ loss to Guilford in the SCC final. Hand then solidified its fourth-consecutive state title with a 4-3 overtime win versus Wilton in the Class L championship game.
Coach Cumpstone says that Jack always makes significant contributions to the Tigers, even if those contributions don’t always show up in the box score.
“Because of his position, Jack isn’t able to score a lot of goals, so some of his performances go a bit under the radar to people who only focus on stats,” says Cumpstone. “But his contribution cannot be understated. In addition to his role as a conduit of possession, Jack also can score outstanding long-range goals. He also has a great range of passing and can get assists with his long, diagonal passes.”
Jack feels that Coach Cumpstone has played a big part in helping him take his soccer game to the next level. Of course, Jack also has to make sure that he’s putting in work in his own in order to maximize his potential.
“My relationship with my head coach is very good. He is always there to push me and offer me advice about soccer or anything when I need it,” Jack says. “I’m always working to improve my game, and I train with the team as much as possible to do that. I also enjoy training by myself in the gym or a field I can find.”
Even though there isn’t going to be a proper State Tournament this fall, Jack is very much looking forward to the 2020 season and has high expectations for the Tigers. Jack appreciates the fact that Hand will get to play any games at all, following the CIAC’s decision to cancel the football season.
“I’m just grateful that we are going to have an opportunity to play this fall. We have a really good team, and I’m hoping that we get the chance to show that,” says Jack. “As a team, we expect and feel the need to win every game and, if playoffs do happen, win some silverware.”
While the 2020 season will look much different than your typical campaign, Coach Cumpstone knows that Jack is going to continue providing the same excellent leadership that he’s known for.
“As a person, Jack is a quiet leader. He leads by example with his attitude and effort,” Cumpstone says. “Jack is also a very brave player who wants to always get on the ball and pick up possession in difficult and tight pockets of space.”
Aside from soccer, Jack plays intramural basketball in the winter and also enjoys skiing and going to the beach. After he graduates from Hand next year, Jack is planning to take his game to the collegiate ranks.
“I want to play college soccer and am currently in communication with different schools about my upcoming years,” says Jack.