Zeisloft by Gateway Renews its Positive Athlete Award


Sunday 19 June 2022 | 11:01

Dietrich Zeisloft was a leader on the pitch for several seasons with the Gateway Boys football team due to his ability to get the ball into the net, help control possession and assist his teammates in attack from his position in midfield.

But the older Gators were also looked at as a leader in a number of other areas both on and off the field, who could be emulated by younger players in the program.

That’s why it came as no surprise to Gateway coach Bernie Sanders that on June 13, Zeysloft was honored with the annual Positive Athlete Western Pennsylvania boys’ football award.

“One of the big things that stands out about Dietrich is that she’s balanced with everyone,” Stiles said.

“Even though he is a great player and he plays at a high level at Gateway and with his Cup team and he is going to play in college, he still has time for high school players to come and train with us in summer. He still has time for that freshman who may not have much experience. He will need time to show them the move or talk to them if he knows they are upset for various reasons.”

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

A total of 32 “Most Positive Score” awards were presented and the list of winners was posted on Positive Athlete Western PA’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

Athletes like Zeisloft have been credited for elevating the Positive Athletes mission and its principles of optimism, support for teammates, the ability to acknowledge shortcomings, give 100% in all cases, and put the team ahead of personal goals.

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

“He’s one of the humblest great players I’ve coached in my 30+ years,” Styles said.

“On the field, I rarely saw him get upset or disagree with the referee or the coaching staff. He definitely has his own opinion, but he treats you with respect. He always offered his thoughts on a problem or plan in a game. People can see that there is little that will affect him in an unfavorable way, even though he is sometimes targeted because of his position on the field and the knowledge that he is a talented player.”

Zeisloft said he was honored to receive the award and thanked Coach Styles for nominating him and his teammates for their support.

“Of course, I wouldn’t say it’s completely me,” he said.

“Many of my teammates exhibit the same characteristics as positive teammates. I want to be a person who sets a good example, cares about his teammates and hopes to get the same behavior from them. If guys want to improve their game, I want to do my best to help them improve. Off the field, I want to help my community to the best of my ability and work hard at school. If a young athlete or student takes an example from me, then I’m glad about it.

For his efforts on the field in 2021, Zeisloft earned the Section 4-3A Finest 15 award after helping the Gators to an overall record of 10-9, a 9-5 mark in section play and a WPIAL playoff berth.

He finished third on the team in points (26), third in goals (9), and second in assists (8). He was named Man of the Match by Gateway twice.

Zeisloft, who was also the recipient of Gateway’s 2020 Gator of the Year along with then-undergraduate Chris Snyder, has attracted the attention of a number of college football programs across the region.

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

The Yellow Jackets have been successful in recent seasons, including in 2021 when they finished 14-5-1 overall and 10-3-1 in the Greater Midwest Athletic Conference.

Cedarville qualified for the NCAA Division II Super Regionals and won 1-1 over the Ohio Dominican before falling behind the region’s No. 1 seed Indianapolis.

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

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

“I had a great visit and great talks with the coaches. I felt that the style of the program was perfect for me. They play with an attacking style of possession. They’ve been great the last couple of years and I definitely feel like that’s not all.”

Michael Love is a staff columnist for the Tribune-Review. You can contact Michael at [email protected] or via Twitter. .

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