Robbinsville High boys’ soccer coach Jeff Fisher has this description of senior outside back Mike Lim.
“He’s a little bit of a character,” Fisher said.
Lim put up little resistance.
“Yeah, I guess that’s one way to put it,” he said with a smile.
Having played at West Windsor-Plainsboro South under the late Maynard Welsh—who was a renowned character for his entire life—Fisher is used to such free spirits.
“Mike frustrates me at times because he likes to do some of the cheeky things out there,” the coach said. “But being from the West Windsor South Welsh tradition, characters are always kind of welcome a little bit. You like it as long as it’s controlled. He’s a fun guy to have around and he’s been a three-year starter for us.”
Lim considers the “fun guy” tag a compliment, since that is what he strives for.
“Playing high school soccer is about winning, but if you’re not having fun I don’t think you’re doing it right,” Lim said. “The main reason why I came out is because I had a passion for soccer and it’s a great way to bond with people and make friends.”
Lim’s comments came after a 3-2 loss to Steinert, which was a tough, back-and-forth contest in which he gave all he had. But when it was over, he wasn’t going to let it crush his spirit.
“At the end of the day we’re smiling,” he said. “I’m friends with kids on the other team, we can laugh. It was a close game and a tough one to lose, but still, you’re playing soccer. Playing soccer is a great way to connect with people and keep in shape.”
Lim began playing at age 8 in the Robbinsville rec leagues. He was in no hurry to advance his career and just enjoyed the competition at that level. In other words, he was having fun. But then he got too good.
“I was too big and too fast for the other players so my parents introduced me to the Robbinsville Rebels,” he said. “From here I started playing more travel, more competitive and I started moving my way up from U10 to U14 travel ball.”
He was quickly made into a defender, since he wasn’t quite sure where he wanted to play.
“When I first started playing I didn’t know any positions,” Lim said. “I didn’t know what to do, so my coach put me in the back at sweeper because I had pace. I started playing there, I had really good vision on the ball and was good with the passing. Eventually I had a strong stint as a winger at forward, so I guess that’s why I naturally gravitated toward outside back; where I had the freedom to go up and down, back and forth on the field.”
Lim has not only been solid on defense, he has been given the green light to make runs into the offensive end and has responded with two goals and two assists.
“He’s really good going forward,” Fisher said. “He has a lot of ability when he plays with that kind of confidence. He’s good on the ball. He can trick you into diving in. He’s a really good crosser and he can finish when he gets the opportunity. He’s kind of a pest at a times. You would think he’s a forward, but he’s not.”
And while he enjoys being up front at times, Lim still feels his home is on defense. He adopted that attitude when he became more serious about the sport.
“I like playing the back,” Lim said. “When I started playing I started watching more soccer and the best teams always had the best defense. So that’s where I drew the inspiration to play defense came from. It always feels good putting a good slide tackle in, I love that. So defense is more of a position I prefer.”
But if duty calls up front, he’s willing to answer the call.
“It’s fun scoring goals, but every time I go on the field that’s not my first thought,” Lim said. “My first thought is to try to win. It just always seems to happen I’m in the right spot in the right space. As long as you put in the work to make the runs, statistically it’s gonna work out for you, the ball’s gonna come your way. When it does I just put my body in and hope for the best.”
Despite the frustration Fisher feels at times, he is more than happy to have Lim on his team. Or, in this case, two Lims.
“He means a lot to the program,” the coach said. “It’s been a pleasure having him and his brother playing on the back line for us for the last two years. They might not understand it today, but down the road they’re going to look back on these as fond memories.”
Junior Ken Lim is, indeed, a two-year starter who sometimes plays on the opposite side of the field as his brother.
“It’s been an interesting experience,” Mike said. “It’s fun. It’s a nice little connection we have. Last year he was the left back and I was the right back, so it was kind of cool. It’s always fun playing with family.”
Fisher can relate, as he was actually coached by his brother, Bryan, at WWPS. Jeff says it’s easy to tell the two apart.
“They’re different in a lot of ways,” he said. “Mike can be the character and Kenny is the complete opposite. He’s serious. Mike talks and talks, that’s just not Kenny. It’s kind of nice they balance each other out.”
Lim agrees that there is a difference between the two.
“My brother wasn’t into the sport as much as I was,” Lim said. “Growing up he was studious, he’s still more studious than I am. He’s probably going to a better college than I am.”
That’s a bit mind blowing, considering Lim has a 3.9 grade point average and is looking into attending business school at the University of Texas, Rutgers, Penn State or Indiana University. He is currently in Robbinsville’s Model United Nations Club (in which he was named second best delegate on the committee), is the meeting coordinator for the interact club, serves as treasurer of Future Business Leaders of America, and is a member of the marketing team and Robotics club.
He is also on the golf team, which will come in handy when he starts sealing business deals out on the golf course.
“Whatever he wants to do in business, he’ll do,” Fisher said, adding with a grin, “Sales is probably good for him, because he’ll talk his way into anything . . . or out of anything.”