Soccer is a game of fluidness.
Players make runs forward and backward, interchanging positions constantly throughout a match.
The more positions a player is comfortable with on a soccer field, the more flexibility the team has and conversely the better equipped it is to handle the opposition.
Well, in Jean Paul Judice, Lafayette High has a jack-of-all-trades who has helped the Lions throughout the season with his willingness to change positions to help the team.
“Throughout my career, I’ve played just about every position on the soccer field that there is,” Judice said after helping the Lions clinch a Division I, District 3 title with a win against Acadiana. “Wide back, midfield, striker, you name it, I’ve played.”
Judice started the season as the Lions striker, but was moved to a midfield role to help Lafayette balance out its formation.
Playing as part of a midfield fulcrum in Lafayette coach Josh Vidrine’s 4-4-2 system, Richard is charged with disrupting the opposition’s offensive flow, winning the ball back and then launching the Lions attack with smart distribution of the ball.
And anytime he can add his goal-scoring touch from the midfield, it’s more than welcome.
Judice said being able to do it all on the soccer field is something that has been preached to him since a young age, coaches hammered into him the importance of understanding what every position’s responsibility was on the field.
The senior’s tactical acumen was on full display in the Lions’ victory over Acadiana.
The Rams’ attempted to use midfielder Salvador Colin as their primary creative force, but with Judice holding in the midfield for the Lions, Colin couldn’t get the Rams offense going.
Then in the opening minutes of the second half, Judice burst forward and unleashed a swerving volley that crashed off the crossbar creating a goal.
The sequence was a prime example of Judice’s flexibility for the Lions, and a key reason why the Lions won the district title over Acadiana, which finished No. 2 in the final state power rankings.
Judice has the Lions, who received a No. 11 seed in the upcoming LHSAA playoffs, poised to make a run in the playoffs when they kick off their postseason run against Ouachita Parish.