Tasker Wheeler left home at the age of 13 to pursue his dreams in soccer. Those dreams have now led him to playing at the Division I level in college.
Wheeler, a graduate of The Calverton School, recently signed with Marquette University of the Big East Conference.
“I chose Marquette for the quality of education, as well as the commitment of the coaching staff to compete and win Big East championships,” Wheeler said. “I look forward to playing in the Big East, one of the top conferences in the country that has a deep history of success and producing professionals in the USA and abroad. [Marquette head men’s soccer coach Louis] Bennett and his staff welcomed me with open arms and made me feel part of the family right away.”
Wheeler, a center back who is thinking of majoring in communications, picked Marquette over James Madison, North Carolina Greensboro, Air Force, Rhode Island, Akron and the University of Maryland.
“The deciding factor for me in choosing Marquette University is when I went on my visit,” he said. “I fell in love with the coaching staff, the facilities were second to none and I love the great city of Milwaukee. It took me a couple days after my visit and I couldn’t be more happy still to this day that I am going there.”
Wheeler was born in New York City in Manhattan and lived there until he was 6 years old. Then he and his family moved to London, England where he started to love the game of soccer after starting to play when he was 4 years old.
Wheeler left home at 13 to go to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, to pursue his soccer dreams. That was followed later by D.C. United of Major League Soccer scouting him in Florida in a winter showcase event during his junior year where Wheeler got offered to come and play for D.C. United for his senior year and as a result brought him to Calverton because the school is connected to D.C. United.
“Tasker has great leadership qualities and is not someone that will be fazed by joining a new environment,” said Jason Boxx, who is the varsity soccer coach at Calverton and coordinator of the D.C. United Calverton Residential Program. “He has a great vocal presence, he’s hard-working, in good shape and has a good build for a center back. He pushes the players around him to get better and has a infectious personality. He’s a humble and genuine young man with a great family, too.”
Wheeler played academy soccer for the D.C. United Under-19s and did not play soccer for Calverton. His family moved to Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, a year ago.
“I was close to the coaching staff and teachers and I’m very proud to say that I’ve graduated from Calverton,” he said. “I’ve had some priceless memories such as at lunch times, hanging out with all of my friends and having good banter. Also, my favorite teacher by far was Dr. [Kenneth] O’Bryhim.”
Boxx said Wheeler has grown a lot in the past year.
“This past year, he has challenged himself in a new environment, a higher level of playing, so he has had to focus more on the small details, has been challenged to think more and to make sure that he can stay consistent throughout the year,” Boxx said. “He is also a senior and with him graduating he has stepped up more into a leadership group for the young players.”
Wheeler added: “On and off the field I’ve learned a lot. The one thing that really sticks out to me is never give up on the field or in the classroom. There will be adversity and it’s how you handle that adversity. You can take it two ways, keep working hard and push through or fall down and just give up. I always choose the path of hard work, determination and grit. You’re also going to have to make a lot of sacrifices.”
Wheeler joins a Marquette squad that was 8-9-1 overall a season ago and 4-5 in the Big East.
“We play in the Big East Conference, which is one of the best conferences in Division I men’s college soccer,” he said. “I could name every player on the team. We had three guys go pro last year. I can’t wait to be there.”
The Calverton graduate is really excited and can’t wait to get started.
“I always believed in myself that I could play Division I soccer and I feel truly blessed in the situation I’m in,” Wheeler said.