Whether Mooresville senior Ty Haddock is playing for the Blue Devils, on his club team or in a board game against his parents or younger brother, the will to win is what drives him.
"I don't like losing or being second-best at anything," said Haddock, who stands at 5-foot-10 and a wiry 160 pounds. "For me, it's first (place) or I'm not satisfied. Whether it's in soccer or we are playing cards or Wii at my house, I am constantly competing with someone."
That same drive has gotten Haddock to where he is today as co-captain of the Mooresville soccer team. Haddock, 18, had a team-best 10 goals and was second on the squad in assists with four before Oct. 10's game against Vance.
Haddock, who has been playing soccer since he was 6, can play just about anywhere on the field. He usually plays forward or center midfield for Mooresville but is a starting defender on the under-18 North Meck Soccer Academy team.
"Ty's versatility is one thing that makes him a great player, because he can adapt to any role we need him to take on," said Mooresville soccer coach Jim Caudill. "He has really matured as a captain and a leader of this team. When it comes down to it, this is his team."
Haddock can do a lot on his own, but he doesn't have to. He has help of his younger brother, Winston. The junior is also one of the top players for the Blue Devils, with eight goals and seven assists, while one of his best friends, Sam Joffe, is a top defender.
The Haddock duo regularly work in combination, causing havoc for their opponents and sometimes between themselves.
"Sometimes we yell at each other on the field like no one else is out there," Ty Haddock said. "But we are just making sure that we keep each other playing at a high level."
Both Haddocks have a competitive, fiery nature. Their mother, Tiffany, played college basketball at Covenant College, and their father, Craig, was a standout high school soccer player.
"My entire family likes to compete at everything," said Ty Haddock. "Even if we are playing a game within the house, we are all trying to win. No one wants to talk to the winner afterwards."
He used that drive to make Mooresville's varsity team as a freshman, and he played well as he split time with the junior varsity team.
As a sophomore he got even better, scoring eight goals before his season was cut short by two broken ankles and a concussion.
But Haddock didn't let injuries stop him from coming back.
Haddock, didn't score a goal but earned all-region honors mostly as a defender and holding midfielder last season. He did all that on a Mooresville team that had to rebuild in Caudill's first season and went 4-9-5 overall, 2-8 in a brutal I-Meck conference.
"Last year was a tough transition for a lot of our team," said Caudill. "But I think we came out of it a more tight-knit group and a better team."
Haddock also improved in the offseason, mainly because of his year-round efforts with his North Meck club team, where he plays with all-state-caliber players such as Myers Park twins Erick and Diego Suarez and Lake Norman's Jordan Chillson. Those efforts have also earned him a chance to play college soccer; he said he will likely commit to Catawba College soon.
Haddock wasted no time becoming the leader of his Mooresville High team, recording back-to-back hat tricks in Mooresville's first two wins, over Northwest Cabarrus and West Rowan.
He has continued his hot play in recent weeks but has not quite gotten the team results he is looking for. Mooresville lost tight games to the top three teams - Hough, Lake Norman and Mallard Creek - in last few weeks but had an impressive 4-0 win over North Meck.
"We are really looking forward to last half of the conference season," said Caudill. "We know we can play with anyone in our league on a given night. We really want to make the playoffs."
If Mooresville can overtake Hopewell and Vance to get the fourth spot in the playoffs or a wild-card berth, Ty Haddock will be in the middle of it.
"The thing I love about high school soccer is the rivalries," Haddock said. "In almost every game we play, I either know a lot of the players or have played with them (in club soccer). ... I always focus on doing what I have to do to win."