With a game-winning, free-kick goal last Friday against Chaparral, Great Oak senior forward Ariel Lassiter has led the Wolfpack to another CIF Southern Section postseason berth.
TEMECULA For the last four seasons, Great Oak High senior Ariel Lassiter has been a feature player in the Southwestern League.
The forward’s speed, combined with his ball control and striking ability have made him a nearly unstoppable force on the Valley boys soccer scene.
Lassiter proved it once again this last week, when he scored the game-winning, and ultimately, the league- title-deciding, goal on a 25-yard free kick in the Wolfpack’s 3-2 victory over Chaparral.
The U-T Californian recently caught up with Lassiter to discuss his background, his father Roy Lassiter’s professional career, and where he sees himself in the future.
Q: How did you first get involved with the game of soccer?
A: Well, my dad used to play professional soccer in the MLS for some of the original teams like Tampa Bay, Miami and Washington, D.C., among others. So when I was younger, I was always around the locker room and was always playing with the ball.
Q: How did it affect you being around the professional aspect of the game?
A: It really showed me where I wanted to be one day. I knew that I wanted to be like these guys.
Q: Do you ever come in contact with any of those players that you looked up to growing up?
A: Once in a while, my dad has reunions or things like that, and I see them, and they always remember me. They remind me of how small I was when they knew me. It’s really cool.
Q: You’re following in your dad’s footsteps as a striker. Does he enjoy coming out and watching you play?
A: Yeah, he gets out there as often as he can, he loves to come out and support me and the team.
Q: Did you play any other sports growing up?
A: I played basketball when I was younger, but that was about the extent of it (laughing).
Q: How do you spend your time off the pitch?
A: I enjoy doing normal stuff, like going to the movies, bowling and playing tennis.
Q: What’s the best game you have ever bowled?
A: I don’t know. Let’s say a 140, but that’s on a good day.
Q: You are going to sign with Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo). What made you want to sign there?
A: Really, their style of play was one of the biggest factors for my decision. It’s total soccer. They put the ball on the ground and they move. Also, I was really impressed with the quality of coaching that was there.
Q: Do you have a favorite professional league?
A: I enjoy the English Premier League a lot. I think it’s different from the rest of the world because of how fast of a pace they play at, and how physical they are.