Gateway’s Zeisloft adds Positive Athlete Award to resume

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Sunday, June 19, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Dietrich Zeisloft was a leader on the field for several seasons for the Gateway boys soccer team with his ability to put the ball in the back of the net, help control possession and facilitate his teammates on the attack from his midfield position.

But the Gators senior also was looked upon as a leader in a number of other areas both on and off the pitch, someone younger players in the program could emulate.

That is why it came as no surprise to Gateway coach Bernie Sanders that Zeisloft was honored June 13 with the annual Positive Athlete Western Pennsylvania boys soccer award.

“One of the big things that stands out about Dietrich is being even-keeled with everybody,” Stiles said.

“Even though he is a great player, and he’s playing at a high level at Gateway and with his Cup team and he’s going to play in college, he still has time for the middle school players who will come out and train with us in the summer. He still has time for that freshman who might not have a lot of experience. He’ll take time to show them a move or take time to talk with them if he knows they are frustrated about different things.”

Athletes, coaches and teams numbering in the hundreds were nominated for the Positive Athlete Awards.

A total of 32 Most Positive Awards were presented, and the list of winners was released on the Positive Athlete Western PA Twitter and Facebook pages.

Athletes such as Zeisloft were recognized for lifting up the Positive Athletes’ mission and its tenets of an optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement, the ability to admit imperfections, giving 100% in all occasions and putting the team over personal goals.

Stiles said Zeisloft understands his talents and his position of influence, and with that, he respects the game.

“He’s one of the more humble great players I’ve coached in my 30-plus years,” Stiles said.

“On the field, I’ve rarely seen him get upset or disagree with a referee or a coaching staff. He definitely has his opinions, but he approaches you in a respectful way. He’s always offered his thoughts on an issue or a plan in a game. People can see that not a lot is going to affect him in an adverse way, even though he gets targeted sometimes because of his position on the field and knowing he’s a talented player.”

Zeisloft said it was an honor to receive the award, and appreciated coach Stiles for nominating him and his teammates for their support.

“I certainly wouldn’t say it’s entirely me,” he said.

“A lot of my teammates show the same characteristics of being a positive teammate. I want to be a person who sets a good example and looks out for my teammates and hopes to get that same behavior back from them. If guys want to improve their games, I want to do whatever I can to help them improve. Off the field, I want to help out in my community to the best of my ability and work hard in school. If a younger athlete or student patterns what they do with me as an example, I am happy with that.”

For his on-field efforts in 2021, Zeisloft earned Section 4-3A Finest 15 honors after helping lead the Gators to a 10-9 overall record, a 9-5 mark in section play, and a spot in the WPIAL playoffs.

He finished third on the team in points (26), third in goals (9) and second in assists (8). He captured Gateway’s Man of the Match honor twice.

Zeisloft, who also was awarded Gateway’s 2020 Gator of the Year with then-senior Chris Snyder, garnered attention from a number of college soccer programs throughout the region.

His search for the right fit brought him to Division II Cedarville University in Ohio.

The Yellow Jackets have shown success in recent seasons, including 2021 where they finished 14-5-1 overall and 10-3-1 in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.

Cedarville qualified for the NCAA Division II Super Regionals and went 1-1 with a win over Ohio Dominican before falling to regional No. 1 seed Indianapolis.

“I found Cedarville through NCSA (Next College Student Athlete),” Zeisloft said.

“I knew I wanted a Christian college for myself. It was one of my top picks. Everything just kind of fell into place.

“I had a great visit and great talks with the coaches. The style of the program, I felt, fit me perfectly. They play a possession attacking style. They’ve been great the past couple of years, and I definitely feel there is more to come.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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