Jared Weiss is not exactly sure at what age he started to juggling a soccer ball while waiting at the bus stop--possibly age 8. He does attribute his ability to control a soccer ball at all times in part to the time he spent juggling.

"I think that definitely started me," he said.

This past season, Weiss helped lead the Weston boys soccer team to a record of 8-10-1 and two Class M state tournament victories as a senior captain midfielder. He ended up scoring five goals, but his greatest contribution might have simply been advancing the ball up the field.

"I definitely like being creative. I'd say I'm more of a playmaker than just like a dribbler," Weiss said.

Weston assistant coach Rick Sloat recalled the time when he scored four goals in two games during his junior season, including a hat trick against Notre Dame-Fairfield.

"He knows where he is. He knows what's around him," Sloat said. "He keeps the ball at his feet. He doesn't just push it too far way. In some respects, I kind of refer to him as having Velcro feet because that ball is right there."

"I think he just took to soccer at an early age, so he is very good with the ball at his feet," Weston head coach Kevin Fitzsimmons added.

"He's also very good at shooting. He's proved it with both feet."

Weiss admitted that at one point last year, his zeal for the game began to wane slightly. His attitude changed directions once preparation for this past season was underway.

"I felt this Weston team kind of rejuvenated my passion for soccer,"

Weiss said. "That's definitely going to carry on to my premier season."

Weiss recently began his sixth season with the Beachside Soccer Club.

He will continue to play for the local premier team while weighing his college options. The incoming freshman, who is planning on majoring in engineering, will try to play on a club team at Division I university or go to a Division III school and try to make the team. Either way, he plans on playing soccer in college.

Before that time comes, though, Weiss can think back to the time he spent as a captain when the Trojans were in a very fragile state after Fitzsimmons found out that his father, George, had passed from cancer at the age of 73 back in Liverpool, England on Nov. 7 -- just a little more than two weeks after finding out that he was named the SWC Coach of the Year for Class M and S schools.

"I gave the captains a lot of rope to pull the team along. I told them it was their team as well as mine and I think that was the reason why the boys went off and did so well in the state tournament was because of the captains because of their leadership qualities," Fitzsimmons said of the group that also included defender Jack Steinharter and midfielder Zack Levine.

"We knew everyone felt bad for Kevin, obviously. We used that as even more incentive to do well in states because we knew then we'd be playing not only for us and the community, but for also for Kevin and his mom and dad," Weiss said.

Fitzsimmons, who arrived back in Connecticut last Sunday night, said he was "totally blown away" by the support he has received from the Weston community. He mentioned receiving scores of sympathy cards, e-mails, text messages, fruit baskets and bouquets of flowers.

Fitzsimmons first moved to the Weston area six years ago when he first started working for Soccer Extreme. He continues to work there after taking the head coaching job at Weston two seasons ago.

"I owe a lot to the town," Fitzsimmons said. "I didn't realize, I suppose, how much of an impact I've had on the town. It was just overwhelming."

He mentioned in particular cards that were sent from his players--or who he refers to simply as "the boys."

"I'll always keep them close to my heart," he said, "because they definitely helped me get through a tough time."