Paterson reflects on his career

FAIRBORN — AJ Paterson was selected the Horizon League Player of the Week on Sept. 5.

During the past week, the senior collected four goals, including a hat trick at home against Cincinnati and added a goal against #19 West Virginia. Paterson also added five shots overall.

Wright State senior midfielder AJ Paterson scored three goals in 2016 alone, but last Monday the Cincinnati defense could only tip its cap after he recorded a hat trick in a 4-2 Raider victory.

The game of Paterson’s life started with a penalty kick, followed by a shot outside the box and culminated in the third goal of the night in the box off a deflection from the goalie. This left him shrugging his shoulders in celebration.

“It’s all a blur. I’d never think to score three in one game,” Paterson said. “That’s my first time even scoring more than one at the college level. It was a great experience.”

“He (Paterson) is a tremendous person and player, stays humble and works extremely hard,” WSU coach Bryan Davis said. “Whatever success comes his way this year he will have earned as he works very hard on his craft.”

When the Key Largo, Fla. native Paterson joined the Raider’s squad in 2014, he felt he made the best decision after being welcomed with open arms.

“What made Wright State stand out was the senior class that just left. When I came on my visit, I had never seen snow in my life,” Paterson said. “It was a big change, and they welcomed me like I was a part of the family already. I fell in love with the place.”

When he is looking for a source of motivation on the field, Paterson says he thinks of his father, who played cricket and soccer and helped get him to games in Miami starting at age six.

“I would have to say my father knowing that he is watching because I’m always wanting to impress him,” Paterson said. “If I’m ever getting tired, I think, ‘Listen, you’ve got to keep going. Dad is watching.’”

The Raiders have advanced to the Horizon League Tournament final three consecutive seasons, ending in nail-biting one goal losses each time. Paterson says the memory of these defeats fuels his team’s focus, which carries over to the practice field and film room.

“It’s something to always look back on whenever you want to cut a corner in practice or walk rather than run,” Paterson said. “We look at a lot of film after games, and we try to right all of the wrongs that we’ve done. Every day we try to better ourselves.”

Paterson mentioned his roommate, WSU forward Jalim Bayo, as another reason for being sharp mentally.

“Watching the things he (Bayo) does at practice amazes me,” Paterson said. “The composure he has with the ball has taught me different aspects of the game, to do that myself and be calm in certain situations.”

The Raiders are looking to fill the void of three all-time program greats from last season’s senior class, Eric Lynch, Peguy Ngatcha and Jake Stovall. A conference title would be made sweeter with players like this in mind, Paterson explained.

“It would be for every player who has been through this program that helped build the team we are today,” Paterson said.

Paterson is majoring in organizational leadership and pursuing a minor in psychology. He hopes to play soccer at a professional level if the opportunity presents itself.

With conference play still a few weeks away, WSU has plenty left to prove. It is certain that Paterson is someone the team can rally around.

“He (Paterson) is one of our leaders. It’s a tight team with many voices, but the guys respect him and look up to him,” Davis said.

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Submitted photo AJ Paterson was selected the Horizon League Player of the Week on Sept. 5. photo AJ Paterson was selected the Horizon League Player of the Week on Sept. 5.

Greene County News

Story courtesy of Alan Hieber and Wright State University Athletics.