LAURINBURG — Scotland soccer coach Blake Dickerson knows junior midfielder Andrew Oswald will be skipping practice every Friday.
And he’s fine with that.
On those nights, Oswald straps on shoulder pads and takes the field as the kicker for Scotland’s football team.
“I understand. I really do,” Dickerson said. “You’ve got to have someone on the football field as much as on the soccer field. If you can do both, do both. No complaints here, as long as he’s giving his all during the game.”
Dickerson said Oswald has lived up to that expectation through the team’s first five games this season. It’s a challenge Oswald embraces, but he said it still doesn’t feel right leaving bouncing between teammates intermittently.
“The biggest challenge honestly is trying to ask to get out of practice with coach Dickerson to get over there,” Oswald said. “I feel kind of bad sometimes telling coach Bailey that I can’t go to (football) practice because I have a game or practice here. But I think I’ve done a good job of trying to mix both of them.”
The junior hadn’t played football until he started participating in summer workouts prior to this season.
Oswald said he didn’t have a problem fitting in with the football team.
“Although you might not think it, I’ve got probably just as much or even more friends on the football team than I do out here (on the soccer team),” Oswald said. “I just love working with both groups of guys and the intensity that both teams bring to the table.”
Oswald has been through periods of change with both squads. Dickerson is in his first season at the helm of the soccer team, and the football team graduated 32 seniors from last season.
Both situations came with unique challenges, but Oswald remained committed to pulling double-duty.
Not only is Oswald dealing with two different scenarios, but he is also playing in different environments.
Oswald said the energy at Pate Stadium, the football team’s home field, is unlike anything he’s experienced.
“Before the games at Pate Stadium, I have a 30-minute period where I get kind of nervous,” Oswald said. “When I’m on the field, I try not to look at the stadium at all.
“Out here (at the soccer field), the bleachers are obviously closer,” he added. “I’ve been playing here longer, so I’m used to the field and environment. I kind of interact with the crowd here a little bit more.”
Oswald said he’d like to see more similarities between the crowds at Pate Stadium and the soccer field. The facilities are located roughly a quarter of a mile away from each other.
“Fans come out for both,” Oswald said. “I’d like to see a little bit more for soccer since we’re out here working just as hard.”
In the meantime, Oswald continues to face the challenge of being a starter on two teams at once.
“I don’t have any problems with him,” Dickerson said. “He’s doing great. He’s been working hard every game so far, and he’ll continue to start and continue to play for me.”
Brandon Tester can be reached at [email protected] or 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.