Southwest Baptist University’s Isaiah Waddy was plastered all over the statistical sheet as a fresman, and he might have cared more if his Bearkats had been on the winning side of more games.
Going into his second season, Waddy and Southwest Baptist University finished the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association conference at 0-8 and were 1-16 overall for the season.
“For us it was mainly the chemistry thing,” Waddy said. “With us having seniors and freshmen on the team, the chemistry really didn’t click, so we weren’t playing together as a team. Like in high school, I played with my teammates since I was 12 years old in club. So we always had that chemistry in high school.
“Here at times it was discouraging because I wasn’t used to losing. I am a winner, and that is something that my dad put that mentality into me.”
As a Brazosport Exporter in four seasons, Waddy and the Ships lost a total of 24 matches.
Waddy is looking for change this season in Bolivar, Missouri.
“We have to be able to get those connections with each other, field a mentality to win and get that chemistry that we need,” Waddy said. “Everybody has to pick up that kind of mentality. Last year we had guys who had been in the program for the past three or four years and they had been losing and had no confidence or that mentality to win.”
As a freshman, Waddy played in all 17 matches, starting and along with was second in assists with four.
“I was mainly trying to get my feet wet,” Waddy said about last year. “The game is a lot different, a lot faster, guys are bigger, and you have to be on your toes more often. It was a big change for me but it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t handle. I felt like I got through it.
“For me this year it will be just doing the same as I did last year but take it to another level. I want to score more goals and be more of a leader on the team and find what my role is.”
He finished first, second or third in total points, goals, assists, shots and shots on goal. But everything wasn’t as easy as it seemed for him.
“The speed and amount of work that you put in was probably the hardest for me to get used to,” Waddy said. “We worked at it every day — in high school you really didn’t work out ever day because in high school when you worked out sometimes it wasn’t a workout. Here you have training sessions, weight room, meetings every day, individ ual meetings and putting in the hours with just me and the coach on the field. The amount of work that I had to put in was the most difficult from what I was used to. But I love soccer and I loved what I was doing. I aspire to be a professional, so I want to take it to another level.”
Another thing that Waddy had to get used to was the weather. Acclimated to playing in the Texas heat, that had to change in Missouri and other areas.
“It is freezing cold and I’ve played a couple of games in the cold, but nothing like here when it is 20 degrees and it is snowing,” Waddy said. “You have to double up on any equipment just to stay warm.”
A big change for the Bearkats in 2019 will be the addition of 12 freshmen. One of those is former Exporter Miguel Arroyo.
“I grew up with him a block away and we both played soccer, so having him here is going to help,” Waddy said. “I feel more comfortable here and now I have someone that I knew growing up, and that helps.”
Southwest Baptist had its first practice of the season Tuesday and will open the season Saturday at home in a scrimmage against Neosho County Community College at Plaster Stadium.
Waddy wants to make a bigger difference this season.
“There were a lot of seniors last year, so I followed their lead but this year I want to be able to lead,” he said. “In high school when I came in as a freshman or sophomore to varsity I was one of the top scorers and leaders on the team. Last year I didn’t get to show that here and I think that is the best part of my game.
“Even better than my skill or speed or me scoring goals — as a leader I think that is my best quality. So this year I am focusing on being a leader on and off the field.”