Aleks Grabowski has been a mainstay at center back during his three-year varsity career.
Elmwood Park boys soccer coach Martin Blake has been experimenting with the junior playing center midfield during the opening weeks of the season.
Grabowski played center midfield for about 15 minutes against Guerin on Sept. 5.
Even when Grabowski has been moved out of his comfort zone this season, he continued to play like himself. He used his excellent touch and superior vision to coolly find Elmwood Park’s attacking players in dangerous areas on the field.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Blake, referring to Grabowski’s on-field temperament. “He’s been playing varsity since freshman year, starting — every minute. I’ve seen better skilled players — the kid, Wojciech (Wojcik, a 2010 Elmwood Park graduate), the one that went to Bradley — but I’ve never seen the kid with the demeanor he has.
“He makes everything look effortless. He’s very unstressed about things. He always plays the right ball, no matter what position he’s in. We’re lucky to have him, that’s for sure.”
Moving up to center midfield is something Grabowski never tried as an underclassmen. Still, he said he’s felt comfortable when he’s split time between the two positions this season partly because he was at forward when he first began playing soccer.
Furthermore, the types of passes needed to distribute the ball at center midfield are similar to those made by a center back, and making accurate passes is something Grabowski does regularly.
There is, however, one thing Grabowski isn’t terribly fond of when playing center midfield.
“The hardest thing for me is running a lot,” said Grabowski. “Otherwise, I kind of know how to play central mid. It’s not that bad; a similar position.”
Grabowski was effective in both of his roles against Guerin on Sept. 5, helping the Tigers crush the Gators, 7-0.