Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Men’s soccer: Freshman walk-on has impressed teammates, coaches

Isaac Schlenker made the team after a successful spring trial with UW
Jason Chan

Walking on to a Division I athletic team is no easy feat, no matter what sport it’s for.

Redshirt freshman forward Isaac Schlenker of the Wisconsin men’s soccer team can attest to that.

“It’s pretty difficult,” he said. “It initially started with me just emailing the coaches. Then they came and saw me play once and offered me a tryout in the spring. From there it was an extended tryout for the entire spring, and I just proved myself from there.”


During Schlenker’s freshman year at University of Wisconsin, he played on the school’s club team, catching the eye of UW head coach John Trask.

“[Schlenker] impressed the coaching staff with his technical ability and his range as an attacking option,” Trask said.

Schlenker isn’t just some random kid with a little bit of skill, as he had quite the soccer career before arriving on the UW campus.

The Milwaukee native was a member of Milwaukee’s Bavarians Soccer Club for the duration of his prep soccer career, racking up three Wisconsin State Cups with the club. Trask says that Schlenker’s background with the Bavarians and his ability to be in the necessary position at the right time is a unique combination in soccer.

Schlenker’s high school accolades are equally as impressive. He spent his high school career at University School of Milwaukee, earning a place on the Midwest Classic Conference first team three times and only being excluded during his freshman season. In his final campaign at USM, Schlenker was named the Midwest Classic Conference’s Player of the Year in which he scored 37 goals and assisted on another 12.

Schlenker said playing for a D-I team like Wisconsin is unlike anything he’s ever done before in his soccer career.

“It’s been extremely intense, but that’s what I like about it,” he said. “It’s really fun.”

For a freshman walk-on, Schlenker has seen a substantial amount of game time over the course of the season, something he says is due to his consistency during training and remaining focused on his role on the team.

“From working hard, to not slacking off or getting distracted, it just takes consistent effort,” Schlenker said.

Part of this focus comes from his time off the pitch as well. Now having to deal with the lifestyle as a student-athlete, Schlenker says he’s always busy doing something and no longer has time to be lazy by watching television or sleeping.

Schlenker has played in eight of 12 games this season, logging 275 minutes so far during the 2015 campaign. More recently, Schlenker has seen an increase in the amount of minutes he’s out on the pitch.

His hard work paid off when Schlenker scored his first goal for the Badgers during an early September fixture against UC-Davis. He currently sits in seventh place in the team in points with two.

Schlenker’s spring tryout is when he really caught the eyes of the coaching staff. During his extended spring trial with the team, Schlenker was able to showcase his skills as a goal-poacher, scoring a goal in the 4-1 win against I-94 rival Marquette.

Men’s Soccer: UW clashes with Marquette in I-94 rivalry

Schlenker is just another talented player to the youthful ability that the Badgers already possess. Though a lot of the other sophomores are still finding their footing in the team, Schlenker has really hit the ground running in his first season on the team.

Assistant coach Keith Tiemeyer had nothing but praise for Schlenker, noting his potency in front of the goal and his excellent timing on runs. Trask has also been impressed by the way Schlenker has been getting around the ball and making plays.

Schlenker feels he will be able to continue to serve as a vital player in the years to come.

“I think I have the potential to be a key contributor,” Schlenker said. “I just have to work hard in-season and off-season. I just can’t slack off.”

It’s not every day you see a walk-on make a significant impact on a team, but Schlenker is certainly on his way to leaving his mark on the Wisconsin men’s soccer program.

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