The pressure has been mounting for sophomore Luca Bartoni and the CBC soccer team.
With legendary CBC coach Terry Michler needing just 10 wins at the start of the campaign to get to 1,000 for his illustrious career, Michler and the Cadets have had to anxiously wait for that landmark achievement.
Michler and CBC finally got over the hump with a pair of wins at the Art Firley soccer shootout this weekend in Jefferson City. The Cadets beat Nixa 3-0 on Saturday to give Michler his 1,000th career win with the Cadets.
“It was unbelievable and we've been pretty much waiting for this moment all year,” Bartoni said. “Obviously, we haven't had the best season. We've just been trying to get over this hump. We got pressure all season. People started asking us if we were going to get the 1,000th. It started to really stress us. ”
Michler, the winningest high school boys soccer coach in the nation, is 1,000-283-117 in 49 seasons at CBC.
“Mainly, it's a relief to have it over with because of the pressure it put on the kids,” Michler said. “Personally, I'm still actively coaching and I've got the next game, the last game and all that stuff. When it's all said and done, I'm sure I'll feel pretty good about it. The kids don't have to endure this anymore. It's over for them.”
The 72-year-old Michler spent two seasons as the head coach at Bishop Hogan in Kansas City before taking over at CBC in 1971. His record with Hogan, however, is unknown.
Bartoni, whose grandfather played with Michler at CBC and whose uncles played for him, broke a scoreless match with three-second half goals.
“We came together this weekend as a team and we're feeling good,” Bartoni said. “I came out in the first half and (Michler) told me I looked a little nervous. I told him I did because I wanted to get the 1,000th. He told me to just relax and play my game. This feels great.”
Michler, who is a member of both the St. Louis Soccer and Missouri Soccer Coaches halls of fame, has won nine state titles with CBC.
“It's a legendary accomplishment,” CBC athletics director Rocky Streb said. “It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He's worked heroically for four decades and this is a great accomplishment.”
After Michler, the next three winningest Missouri boys soccer coaches — Vince Drake, Greg Vitello and Ebbie Dunn — have all either retired or passed away. Drake, who has the state's second-most wins as a boys coach, ended his career in 2015 with a 737-145-133 record between Aquinas, Aquinas-Mercy and Trinity.