By Kacy Kobakof, MSU Athletic Communication Student Assistant
If you tried to keep up with team captain Dewey Lewis after he laced up his Nike Hypervenoms and took the field at DeMartin Stadium to talk to him about his career at Michigan State, you probably wouldn’t be surprised at how much he has accomplished.
It wasn’t too long ago that he was in his senior year high school soccer season in Rockford, Mich., again carrying the captain title and flying around the field. Déjà vu, right?
“All of my siblings played soccer growing up,” Lewis said. “I have a sister that’s eight years older than me. I started playing around the same time she started playing. So I started playing when I was two-ish, and it all started from there.”
Little did he know, 16 years later the MSU coaches would seek him out in hopes of making Lewis a Spartan.
As he said yes to wearing the Green and White, the Rockford, Michigan native also knew he had a support system back home that would see be sitting in the stands at DeMartin Stadium for almost every game.
“My dad was always big into athletics growing up. He knew how important they were for developing as a human being,” Lewis explained. “You have to fight through stuff, and it just teaches you a lot of good life lessons. They’ve always been supportive and have always believed in me.”
In the first game of his freshman season, Lewis came out on fire and immediately achieved his goal of earning playing time. Aiding in the Spartan’s victory over Western Michigan, he finished that game with an assist and goal of his own.
“I wanted to get a lot of minutes, and my main goal was just starting every single year, which I was able to accomplish, it was really nice,” said Lewis, who appeared in all but one game for the Spartans during his freshman season. “At some of the big soccer programs like Michigan State, the freshmen don’t really get a shot, and Coach Rensing gave me the opportunity at that shot.”
After such an electric beginning, Lewis unfortunately faced adversity early in his first season as a Spartan. However, the challenge just upped his work ethic to return.
“I remember spraining my ankle freshman year, and it was a long road back to recovery, but, I made it back and fought my way back into the starting lineup. It was a good experience for me. Life isn’t always going to be easy, so you just have to learn from what happened and keep fighting through it,” Lewis said.
In his sophomore season, Lewis again caused havoc on the field. He finished the season second on the team in assists, as well as tied for third in the Big Ten in assists.
Lewis not only contributed to the team with his countless goals he set up, he channeled his hard work as a way to lead his teammates.
“I definitely lead by example more. On and off the field, people look to me, not to be the vocal leader, but I just kind of do everything the right way,” Lewis said. “Put in your time and work, and hopefully people and players learn from that. You don’t have to be vocal to be a leader, you can still be impactful, which I think is very important.”
Heading into his junior season, Lewis continued his strong performance on the field, playing in all 19 games. The Spartan team did not have as successful of a season as their previous two, which encouraged Lewis to recall a piece of advice his father had given him.
“One of the things that my dad instilled in me, is that even if people think that you’re the best, that doesn’t mean that other people won’t catch up,” Lewis remembered. “I mean, if you’re not getting better everyday, you’re getting worse, and someone is going to catch you. You just have to put in the hard work every day and hope it pays off. You just have to realize that mistakes will happen and you have to put them behind you.”
While striving for greatness, Lewis walked into his senior season with ease. Chosen to represent the team as one of the three captains, he took on the responsibility confidently.
“I have more eyes on me,” he said of his new role. “A lot of people are watching what I do and how I do it. I have to be aware of that, and I have to lead by example.”
A new title wasn’t the only thing that changed on paper for Lewis in his final season. We can mark down a position change as well. Playing his first three years as an outside midfielder, he is finishing his career in the Green and White as an outside defender.
“Growing up, I was never really big into defense. I was always about scoring goals and stuff like that,” Lewis said. “Shifting back to defense really has shown me the importance of defense. Really, the entire team starts from the back and builds its way forward. If we don’t have control in the back line and let in a bunch of goals, even if we score a couple, it’s not going to make a big difference. Defense really does win championships.”
With the desire to change nothing about his experience as a Spartan, Lewis believes that things happened which led to this place and time for a reason, and he sees his experience as nothing but positive.
Lewis and teammates finished this year’s Big Ten regular season by making history, which is something that he is proud to leave with this university.
“This was a historical season,” Lewis smiled. “We went undefeated here at home, and it was the first time since 1975 that we’ve done that. Having an undefeated season at home is huge and I love being a part of that history.”
Proud of everything he has accomplished over the course of his four years at Michigan State, Lewis expressed gratitude for the opportunities this experience has given him, and an excitement for what his future will entail.
“I would like to go to med school, but if soccer opportunities arise, I would definitely take advantage of those. I think my future is leaning more towards medical school and helping people that way,” Lewis said.
Whether he is on the field creating chances for his teammates to capitalize on, or tending to his patients as an orthopedic surgeon, it’ll be no surprise that Lewis will make an impact through either path he takes in the future, because of his incredible work ethic.
“I hope to be remembered as someone who has really good work ethic,” Lewis said proudly. “Someone who tried to do the right thing, even when the wrong thing would have been so much easier to do. Perfection is impossible, but you can always strive for greatness.”
And greatness, he has achieved.