For nearly all of the York-Adams League boys’ soccer players that participated in the Senior All-Star game Wednesday, Nov. 15 at Red Lion High School, the annual showcase was a chance to put some bitter disappointments behind them.
For the first time in many years, no York-Adams League squad advanced beyond the District 3 semifinals. That list includes teams such as Central York and league-champion Susquehannock, who were both favored to make it at least that far by virtue of their high seeds.
While their respective team’s seasons ended poorly, all of the players that took part in the all-star contest still enjoyed themselves.
Perhaps no one had more fun than Eastern York’s Dalton Leik. The Golden Knights senior scored a pair of goals to lead his Orange team to a 4-1 victory over the Neon Green side.
“It was a great experience,” said Leik, who scored 20 goals during his high school career. “I came out here tonight and gave it my all. It was good to get two goals so I’m pretty pleased. I think I did good tonight.”
Playing alongside many of Eastern’s Division II rivals in the contest was also a nice little bonus. Leik played with players like Susquehannock’s Jason Weger, who was named the Division II Player of the Year, as well as Hanover’s Diego Aguilar, who was the Division III Player of the Year, which he found personally rewarding.
“This was a fun opportunity,” he said. “They’re all great kids and they were fun to play along with. I just feel blessed for this opportunity.”
The players weren’t the only ones having fun. West York coach Brent Duffy and York Suburban coach John Fornadel seemed to really enjoy the chance to lead the Orange squad to victory. And, even in defeat, Dallastown coach Matt Zimmerman and Red Lion coach Mike Watt were all smiles as well.
“This was nice and I still have my voice after it,” Zimmerman joked. “But, seriously, this was just a blast to see all of the boys play. They all know each other and it’s like coach (Watt) said, it’s a lot like the NBA All-Star game. The score doesn’t matter, the defense doesn’t matter. You play to have fun and it’s good to have the memories of the last time playing with each other.”
Showcasing for college coaches: The game also served an additional purpose beyond honoring the 45 players that participated. Many of the seniors still haven't committed to a college or university for next season. That gave the college coaches in attendance one more chance to see them in action.
The Orange team was comprised of players from Division II schools West York, Gettysburg, York Suburban, Eastern York, Kennard-Dale, Dover and Susquehannock as well as Division III programs Fairfield, Biglerville and Hanover. The Neon Green team was made up of players from Division I schools Central York, Dallastown, Northeastern, Red Lion, Spring Grove, South Western and New Oxford as well as Division III teams Bermudian Springs, York Catholic and Littlestown.
— Ryan Vandersloot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org