At the beginning of the spring soccer season, Stillwater’s Grant Baker sat 22 goals away from breaking the Wasaren league record for most goals scored in a player’s career. It has been a record that Baker has had his eyes on ever since he started playing school ball. By the end of his senior season, Baker had claimed the record.
Coming into his senior season, Baker had 79 career goals, needing to reach 101 to break the league record. In Stillwater’s first game of the season, Baker notched 6 goals in a 6-2 win over Saratoga Catholic. As the season progressed, Baker continued to prove his excellent offensive talent, scoring an impressive 22 goals in 12 games.
When asked about how he responded to the pressure of getting closer to the record, Baker responded, “I don’t really get nervous before games often but before those games with the record on the line I was pretty nervous but once I got out there and saw my teammates working hard I started to calm down and let the game come to me.” His teammates were a major part of his run at the record.
“I love those guys, even though our success wasn’t high it was my favorite year, there were a lot of younger guys out on the field really just doing it for me, even though they were undersized they would go out and work hard…I really appreciated it because if it wasn’t for those guys I would not have gotten the record.” Baker had an undoubtedly major impact on Stillwater’s soccer program, many younger players looked up to him and played hard whenever they were on the field.
Stillwater fell into a little bit of a slump to begin the season, but Baker expected a little bit of a slow start. As they were getting out of it, they had a big game against Tamarac. “When we were getting out of our slump we played Tamarac, who was playing very well and we all went into the game wanting to spoil their senior night and ended up winning 5-4… Everyone played well together and if it wasn’t for the rest of the team I wouldn’t have scored 4 and we wouldn’t have won.” A total team effort, Baker credits a lot of his success to his teammates who have helped him become a dominant player.
Heading into his senior night, Baker needed only one goal to break the school record for career goals scored. This night also happened to be his father’s birthday. “The night that stood out for me the most was my senior night, it was also my dad’s birthday and I was one goal away from breaking the school record and I ended up scoring it late in the second half and I ran the ball over to my dad and that was his birthday present.” Since the beginning of school ball for Baker, he has told his dad that he wanted to break the record, and he broke the school record in the most surreal way possible, on his senior night and father’s birthday.
Heading into next year and beyond, Baker is exploring two different options. Either playing at the collegiate level or heading to The United Kingdom to play for a semi-pro club. There is no doubt in my mind that a talented and hard-working player such as Baker will have immediate success at whichever option he chooses. CSMN wishes him nothing but the best in the future and keep an eye out for his name.