Junior forward Jon Bakero has been a huge part of Wake Forest’s two straight Atlantic Division titles.
His leadership and eye for goals will be necessary for Wake Forest to advance past the semifinals in this years ACC tournament.
Bakero, with four goals and two assists on the year, is a key piece of the Wake Forest offense predicated on patient, clever passing in the final third of the field.
As Wake Forest gears up for postseason play, Bakero will be keen on leading the Wake Forest offense.
Why did you choose Wake Forest?
I grew up in Spain, obviously, and I wanted to come to the U.S. Wake Forest was my best pick, with obviously a great soccer program and a great academic school. When I came across Wake Forest, I thought it was my best possibility.
Has there been a role model at Wake Forest that you’ve looked up to since you’ve been here?
I mean, obviously all of the upperclassmen and seniors from this year. When I came in, they were sophomores at that point, and they took me in as one more. Ian, Jacori and Alec are all senior captains and great guys, obviously, and I just want to continue to get better and looking up at them.
As a junior now, have you taken on a mentoring role to some of the younger players?
We all try to help each other out because we’re a little family. Everyone — the sophomore class, the freshman class — we all try to stick together to help each other out.
How has your role changed on the team throughout your career at Wake Forest?
As aa freshman, there isn’t that much pressure. Pressure builds as you get older, and my sophomore year, we had a great year.
This year, my junior year, I think we’re really good as well.
Obviously, as you get older and the team does better, you have more pressure and more responsibility, but I think it’s something that we all like.
How has this season been different from seasons in the past, if at all?
Last season we had a really good season, and we also had really good players, like Jack Harrison and Michael Gamble, that left us. At the start of this season, people didn’t really expect us to be as good as we are again.
I think we just stick together, we’re really close guys and we just know what we want out of this season, which is the biggest thing for us.
Looking forward to ACCs, what’s the mindset of the team during practice right now?
We don’t have a ton of time during the season to practice since we have so many games.
Right now, our focus is getting better in everything we can and also trying to get our bodies back healthy.
How is the team preparing mentally for the ACC tournament?
Last year, we lost in the semifinals in a really close game to Notre Dame, which was the same as in the NCAA tournament. We’re really anxious to be able to win trophies this season.
That’s what we’re trying to do as a team.
You’re either going to play Notre Dame or Duke. Are you preparing specifically for either team?
We’re ready to play whatever team comes along. I think we’re one of the best teams in the country, and we shouldn’t be looking at who we play, but what we can do to beat any team.
How has head coach Bobby Muuss helped the team prepare for the ACC tournament?
In the ACC tournament, if you lose a game, you’re out, which is the same as the NCAA tournament.
We have to prepare mentally for overtime, penalty kicks, whatever happens. Coach tries to get us mentally and physically ready, but we do the same things as during the regular season and keep on doing what we’ve been doing the whole season.
What has been your favorite moment as a Deacon?
Winning two regular season championships is big, but I would say my goal against Notre Dame last year.
What was going through your head?
It was a great feeling to be able to help the team, and jumping on The Hill to celebrate with the fans was awesome.