Published on December 8th, 2013 | by Staples Soccer0
Jack Scott, Charlie Leonard Win Block “S”s; Foster Goldberg, Connor Weiler, Yousef Shahin Among Banquet Honorees — Photos TK
Nearly 200 players, parents, siblings and friends honored the 2013 varsity, JV and freshman soccer teams tonight, at the 55th annual Staples boys soccer banquet.
The event — at the Norwalk Inn — included speeches by coaches and captains, introductions of all players, and several awards.
Head coach Dan Woog noted the evening’s dual themes. There was sadness that the varsity team was together for the last time, and anticipation looking ahead to 2014. “That’s the magic of Staples soccer,” he said, “and I’m glad everyone in this room is along for the ride.”
The 2 Block “S”s went to seniors Jack Scott and Charlie Leonard.
In a vote by teammates, Jack won the Most Valuable Player Award. Woog cited the co-captain’s “tenacious pressure, speed and strength,” and his “competitive nature, which makes even his hero, Chris O’Dell, look like a slacker. Jack was also our emotional leader on the field. His love for this team was intense.”
Charlie received the Coaches’ Award as Most Improved Player. Woog called the choice “a no-brainer. All those hours playing futsal, and in the fitness center, paid off. Charlie’s new confidence was matched only by the ferocity with which he pressured, tackled, went forward and urged his team on. He did it playing virtually every position on the field. He epitomizes what we often say: ‘It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.'”
The Alumni Award — given for exemplification of “the values that have been the foundation of the Staples soccer program since its inception” — went to 2 players: Foster Goldberg and Connor Weiler. Both were injured for significant portions of the season, but attended every training session and did whatever they could to help. Both led by strong example, with unwavering love for their 24 “brothers.” Both, Woog said, showed “total commitment to the ideals of our program.”
The Dan Woog Dedication Award carries a scholarship of $5,000, thanks to the generosity of the Top of the Hill Team and Gudis Family Foundation. This year, 2 players each won $5,000 grants: Yousef Shahin and Charlie Leonard. TOTH president Dan Donovan ’82 commended both players for their dedication to their team, their school, their community and their sport, on and off the field.
The Jeff Lea Award — presented to an adult for “long, enthusiastic and meritorious service to the Staples boys soccer program — went to Luke Scott ’91. As owner of the web design firm MadisonMott, he designed StaplesSoccer.com in 2001. A year ago, he engineered a total site redesign. The website connects former players and fans around the world — and Luke has never charged a penny for his work. Woog honored him for his “amazing graphic talents, tremendous generosity and long friendship.”
The evening included excellent, insightful speeches by freshman co-captains Spencer Daniels and Brandon Harrington; JV co-captain Matt Bateman, and varsity co-captains Diego Alanis and Jack Scott, plus coaches Kurt Dasbach, Tom Henske, Seth Sholes and Chris O’Dell.
Two more important announcements were made. Jack Scott passed #15 — worn by Preston Hirten ’07, symbolizing tenacious play, passion for soccer and deep commitment to the Staples program — to Andrew Puchala. Like Preston, Andrew is a fierce defender. Jack made a heartfelt, loving speech about Preston and the importance of the #15 tradition.
Tri-captains for 2014 are Patrick Beusse, Andrew Puchala and Michael Reid. Woog called their election “one more indication of the strength of our program. They represent their excellent junior class well. We know they will follow the lead of this year’s superb captains, and the entire senior class. That group has set the standard for all who will follow.”
One other award was presented by Chris O’Dell. Stephen Rowland earned the Stephen Martin Award, presented annually to the freshman player who “best epitomizes Steve’s special spirit, by combining the desire to excel with the willingness to work and the eagerness to share.”
For great varsity, JV and freshman team slideshows, click here.