by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Augie Wodrich was born in Liberia and moved to Minnesota when he was 11. So it explains his proficiency in the sport of soccer. But Wodrich, who just completed a brilliant three-year career playing for the Osseo Area School District CI adapted athletic program, also distinguished himself in floor hockey and softball.
In fact, Wodrich became the 11th player in the programs history to score 100 goals in floor hockey and the fifth in soccer. But he’s just the third player to score 100 goals in soccer and hockey. He finished as the No. 2 all-time leading scorer in soccer and hockey as well.
It started three years ago when Wodrich was introduced to the adapted sports program.
“My teach Ms. Baker talked to the coach and coach asked me to come and try out,” Wodrich said.
Joining the adapted program introduced Wodrich to many new friends from Osseo, Park Center and Maple Grove senior high schools.
“I liked it right away. We all get along on the team,” Wodrich said. “I like the coaches and my teammates. I like practicing and playing with them.”
Wodrich made an immediate impact in his first season of soccer and led the team in scoring.
“The first season Augie played, he was our secret weapon because no one knew about him,” 79ers coach Kelli Waalk said. “About mid-season the word got around and teams started to double and triple-team him. Despite being covered by multiple opponents, and usually their best players, he was still able to move the ball or puck around and score. After three years of coaching Augie, I still marvel at his moves.
“I have been playing soccer since I was little,” he said. “There is no difference between regular soccer and adapted soccer.”
After the soccer season, Waalk asked Wodrich to join the hockey team.
“I had never played hockey before,” Wodrich said. “It was hard. The hardest part was shooting the puck but the coaches taught me how to play and I got the hang of it.”
That is an understatement. Wodrich proved to be a quick learner, as he developed dexterity with the hockey stick that matches his soccer skills. He once again emerged as the team’s top scorer.
Wodrich gives a lot of credit to another former outstanding player and alumni-coach Christian Brown for teaching him how to play hockey. Like Wodrich, Brown was a soccer stand-out that never knew anything about hockey until he came out for the team.
“Christian taught me to lift the puck and always shoot for the corners. That’s why I score so many goals,” Wodrich said.
“Augie has a lot of natural athletic ability,” Waalk said. “He has great hand-eye coordination, he’s quick and agile, and he’s got good game sense. He’s also a great team player. Augie understands when he needs to turn it up a notch, when to pass to a teammate, and when to back off because the score is lopsided. It’s not something coaches ever had to teach him, it was just something he knew and did on his own.”
Now three seasons later, Wodrich has left his mark on the program and leaves as one of its best ever athletes.
Waalk said Wodrich could easily have scored many more goals but he was an unselfish player who enjoyed assisting his teammates as much as scoring goals.
“Augie led the team in scoring for the past three years, but he had even more assists each of those three seasons,” Waalk said. “It’s a testament to his sense of teamwork and his display of sportsmanship. He gets so much enjoyment from dishing to a teammate and seeing them score.”
That’s because Wodrich loves his teammates, even though they come from different schools and background.
“It’s great playing with these guys. I love playing with them,” Wodrich said.
Wodrich will attend the Osseo Transition School and plans to play soccer and hockey for the school and join the Special Olympics squad.
Contact Bob San at firstname.lastname@example.org