Certain people exude an aura. They have a presence that draws the ear and eye. They don’t necessarily need a stripe, an armband, or a symbol. These leaders – sergeants, managers, captains – help organizations succeed beyond their talent. When absent there is a gap that is filled, but it is a gap that is known. Sam Rogers’ long absence meant Tacoma Defiance had such a hole. Rogers’ return to the pitch is filling that vacancy, not only in his imposing style of play but in reclaiming the armband of leadership.
The Captain’s back, and Coach Little’s happy to have him.
“He’s the captain of the team. He has USL experience that we don’t have in a lot of places. There’s a presence, an aura to his leadership role that’s been missing because he’s a captain that’s not been playing. To get that back is massive.”
The Ballard product first signed as a pro in 2017. He earned the armband as a teenager in just his second year. Now 20, his game wisdom goes beyond that young age. Only two of his Defiance teammates have more professional minutes than he does.
New teammate Aleks Berkolds says of Rogers, “he’ll get on you.”
But that’s not the only way that Rogers leads. Sam describes his approach as a combination of verbal shouts and presence.
“Being captain is a good thing for myself to improve my own game too. I have to step up, lead sometimes, and put myself in the best situations that will help the team.”
Beyond greeting the opposition with well-timed commands, Rogers also amplifies the way the team plays – tempo-controlling possession that breaks multiple lines.
“When you have a centerback like Sam—that’s comfortable in possession, that can break lines, that can thread passes, that can get the opposition turned – any time you add a player into the team, that can help you and what you are trying to do.”
Lead by their captain, Sam says his teammates make it easy for him to lead.
“We all respect each other. We like each other.”
Next home match on May 26 at 1:30 p.m versus Fresno FC (Defiantly Truckoma tickets available here).