Bucklew named to WSCA All-Star Game
Somerset’s Jon Bucklew has attained more state soccer recognition than any player ever from this part of the state.
The WSCA All-Star Game is scheduled to be played on Saturday, July 26, at UW-Whitewater. Before the game, the players will gather in Whitewater for two days of practices.
Bucklew has been one of the most prolific scorers in Wisconsin high school soccer over the past two years. Last year he tied for the state lead in scoring with 105 points. His 25 assists ranked second in the state and his 40 goals were sixth among all Wisconsin boys high school players.
Bucklew was even more dominant in his junior season. He scored 114 points, which led all Wisconsin high school boys. He led the state with 48 goals scored that year.
As one of the few western Wisconsin players ever chosen for the WSCA All-Star Game, Bucklew said he doesn’t feel pressure to represent this part of the state.
“It’s more pride than pressure,” he said.
It’s not the first time Bucklew’s been an ice-breaker. He was the lone player from the western half of the state to draw all-state honors as a junior. This year, several players from this half of the state drew all-state recognition, including a pair of players from Division 3 state champion Ashland.Bucklew has also made his choice on where he will attend college and continue his soccer career. Bucklew will attend UW-Superior. The Yellowjackets were the winner of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship last fall. Superior coach Joe Mooney was named the WIAC Coach of the Year, and in recruting, Bucklew and Mooney quickly developed a bond.
“He sought me out, more than most coaches did,” Bucklew said. “He sought me out as a student and a player.”
Bucklew said he was drawn to Superior because it has an exercise science major. He plans to follow that track, then hopes to earn his master’s degree at St. Scholastica, which has ties with Superior for this program. Bucklew’s career goal is to work in physical therapy.
Bucklew laughed at the idea of playing along Lake Superior, when he had hopes of playing in the southern part of the country when he was younger. He said playing in a cold climate in high school should provide an easy adjustment to college, where the season stretches into November.
While Bucklew was used mainly as an offensive midfielder in high school, he said he will likely play as a forward or outside midfielder in college. With his versatility, it’s already been pointed out to Bucklew that he could be used in several roles as a college player.
Bucklew had college offers from Division 2 programs, with Colorado State University showing the strongest interest. Bucklew said he chose Division 3 Superior because he wants to play right away. He said he hopes to get regular playing time by the midpoint of his freshman season and to move into the starting lineup by the start of his sophomore season.
Soccer is a year-round sport for Bucklew. Before his freshman season, he had to decide between soccer and football for his fall sport.
“I felt I could be more successful in soccer because of my size,” said Bucklew, who is listed at 5-8 and 150 pounds.
That winter he had to make another tough choice. Bucklew loved playing basketball, but he was invited to play for the St. Croix Soccer Club. He agonized over the decision before deciding to commit to soccer, playing from November through August with the St. Croix Soccer Club. He spent his first two years playing in the lower levels of that soccer program. In the past two years he’s played on the SCSC premier team that plays all over the Midwest.
The summer before his sophomore year, Bucklew decided to become serious about lifting weights. Within a year he’d gained 25 pounds of muscle, developing incredible quickness and balance.
Bucklew wasn’t alone in the success seen by the Spartans. He was part of a class of 13 seniors who grew as a group, helping the Spartans win the Middle Border Conference championship last fall. That’s quite a change from a team that won two games in their freshman season.
“I give a lot of credit to (Coach Bill) Roll. He gave a lot more discipline to the program,” Bucklew said.