Jacksonville, Florida – Jake Ziegler definitely has management in his future. As a three-year captain for the Jacksonville University men’s lacrosse team, the midfielder has had to learn that fine line between friendship and leader with his teammates and clearly has a good grasp on how to walk it.
“It’s difficult leading sometimes,’’ the communications major from Webster, N.Y., said. “These guys are not only my teammates but my friends. There aren’t a lot of seniors (he’s one of only eight on the team) so it’s about me leading and voicing my opinion to kids that are my friends.’’
Not always do the two – leading and friendship – blend well.
“Sometimes it may differ from what they think and it may seem that I’m conflicting with their beliefs, but they have to understand where I am coming from and I have to understand where they are coming from,’’ he said. “Sometimes that line between friend and captain can be smeared.’’
He must be doing something right as his teammates, who chose the captains, keep electing him.
“I think they respect me and I respect them for electing me captain,’’ he said. “It’s a great honor and three years is a long time. It really means a lot to me. I look at them as my friends and they can see me as a management figure, as a leader. It’s important to them and it’s important to me.’’
The role fits well with where Ziegler sees his future. After an internship at the Robin Shepherd Group advertising agency, he is ready to take on a management role in the advertising or public relations field.
“I worked in the account services department which handles management of creative team,’’ Ziegler said. “It’s explaining to (employees) what has to be done, what needs to be done, when it has to be done and also staying on them to make sure the task gets done in a timely manner. I probably will be going into some management field and would like to do that.’’
While Ziegler is entering his third year as captain, he’s entering his first year with new coach Guy Van Arsdale, who took over the team last summer. Thus far, Ziegler has no complaints.
“I believe in what he is teaching us,’’ Ziegler said. “It might differ from what we’ve heard in the past but it’s not completely different. We’re still playing lacrosse, it’s still the same game, it’s just that we have some new philosophies and strategies.’’
In turn, Van Arsdale believes in Ziegler.
“He’s a lead by example guy and every one of our guys respects the heck out of him,’’ Van Arsdale said. “He’s a tremendous athlete, very aggressive and he’s smart about how he does things. Jake does things the way you’re supposed to do them all the time. He’s not a guy you worry about how he’s getting something done and you know it’s going to be done well and with attention to detail which is very important to us.’’
As Ziegler, who came here from Division II Le Moyne College after his freshman year, enters his final season, he looks back on joining JU’s new program with a bit of fondness.
“At times it’s definitely been tough with growing pains,’’ he said. “But it’s honestly been awesome.’’