My favorite athlete: Lebron James
My favorite team: Crystal Palace
My favorite memory competing in sports: Beating Upper Dublin in double overtime my junior year
Funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: Getting wings with the team after victories
Music on playlist: I like to listen to a wide variety of music but before a game it's usually rap
Future plans: Achieve a high education and play soccer at the collegiate level
Words to live by: “Don't be afraid to fail.”
Goal before turning 30: Visit Alaska
One thing people don't know about me: I drink milk with every meal
By GORDON GLANTZ
There are team captains and then, well, there are team captains.
And then, practically re-defining what it means to be a team leader in the age of COVID-19, you have the likes of Springfield soccer captain Pierson Rubincam, a midfielder with an eye affixed on playing the game at the next level in the future while knowing where he came from and fully aware of his role in the present.
“During a difficult season for all of us, Pierson has been the engine that keeps us going,” said his coach, Dan Meder. “His work rate and spirit have been strong in times of need. He's been a constant that we can count on and he has not let anything - not the restrictions or an undesirable result - dampen his mood. When the team needs a lift, he's doing the lifting on and off the field.”
Rubincam realizes it all comes with the job description of being a leader, and an example of the net result of the right work ethic.
“As a captain on our team, it is my job to lead by example for all of the younger guys on the team,” he said. “I have worked extremely hard all offseason, and during the season, to ensure that we have the best chance to be successful on the field. Hearing my coach praise me like this is almost like a bonus. I also believe this to be a testament of the hard work I put in every day.”
One of the reasons Meder considers Rubincam as the “ideal player to coach” is not his effort during games, but on the practice field.
Said Meder: “He welcomes feedback. He wants us to run the drill one more time or a little longer or until we get it right. He's been a great role model for our younger players.”
Rubincam does this by bringing intensity to the practice field every day,
“I am a strong believer that the way you perform in practice reflects the way you will perform in a game,” he said. “If you practice sloppy you will play sloppy. It's that simple.”
“The whole entire point of practice is to get better as an individual and also as a team so we can produce the proper results. That cannot happen if people are being lazy and not practicing the right way. If we practice hard, then we will play hard in games.”
Playing Under A Cloud
As a senior playing a fall sport, it was touch and go for Rubincam and his teammates, not knowing if there would be a season.
“Playing under the cloud of COVID has been challenging,” he said, “but at the end of the day, I was extremely grateful to have a season. One thing I stressed to the guys from day one is that we must be ready, regardless of what the current situation looked like.”
What this meant was holding captain’s practices once the Green phase took hold. That meant a lot of running to get in shape and playing to keep their skills intact.
“Not only did these practices prepare us for the season in a physical manner, but also in a mental manner. We learned to play with each other and bond together as a team,” he said. “Individually, I tried to go on runs every day and get my foot on a ball as much as possible. One thing that I always like to keep in mind is every day that you are not getting better is a day you are losing to the competition. I believe this to apply to both myself and the team, which is why I tried to get the team together at least three times a week for captain’s practices.”
Rubincam’s primary position is holding midfielder, a difficult and challenging position that requires the foot skills to go with a smart soccer IQ. He would have it no other way.
“Playing in the middle, I am constantly checking over my shoulders and surveying the field around me to see where I can receive the ball, but also once I get the ball, where the most dangerous pass I can make is,” he said. “You need to be proactive and anticipate where the ball will be going before you get it.”
A Star Citizen
As good as Rubincam is as a player and leader on the field, he is an even better citizen off of it.
After a close family friend passed away Dec. 23 several years ago, Rubincam and his family found a way to honor her memory.
“She appreciated the carolers that showed up at her door that December,” he explained. “Ever since then, my family -- along with a few others -- have been going to a local hospice center to carol and spread holiday cheer to those who need it most. It feels good to have a positive impact on others. The smallest things can mean so much to people.”
When COVID hit, Rubincam was again prompted into action.
“I wanted to help, so I collected items for the Chestnut Hill Meals on Wheels,” he said. “After advertising and offering to pick up goods, I was able to drop off over 500 items. It is important to remember that even those in your own community might need support.”
Because Springfield is a smaller school than its opponents, Rubincam relishes moments like beating Upper Dublin in overtime last year and tying Wissahickon to open the season this year.
“Playing for Springfield you are almost always going to be an underdog because of our small school size, so it is very special to me when we can defeat one of these bigger schools,” he said. “It tells us that it is not the size of the dog that matters but the size of the fight in the dog.”
Words To Live By
Where did it come from, this attitude? Rubincam traces it back two generations, saying it was instilled in him by his grandfather, Herky Rubincam, who told him and his two younger brothers, repeatedly, “Don’t be afraid to fail.”
For the avid outdoorsman who enjoys skiing and snowboarding and hopes to visit Alaska one day, these are words to live by.
“This means that if you always have failure in your mind then you will never succeed,” Rubincam said. “You must embrace failure and welcome it, so you can learn from your failures and use your experience to help you succeed in both soccer and whatever else you are doing.”
It is with this mentality that Rubincam will turn his attention forward after the season of being a captain among captains.
“Soccer at the next level is my goal,” he said. “It is extremely important to me to receive a good education so I can be successful in the future. I believe I can use the drive I have in soccer and channel it to my future plans to help give me a profession that I will succeed at and enjoy, whatever that may be.”
Rubincam, an honor roll student with a course load of all AP and honors classes, is keeping his college options open, and says he is not entirely sure what his major will be in college.
What is certain is that the math whiz will approach the next challenge unafraid to fail.
“I would definitely consider myself a serious student,” said Rubincam. “I take school and my grades very seriously. I try to be as laser sharp as possible when I am in school because I know it is the things that I learn in school that will help me in my future.”