Boys Soccer Player of the Year
by Aaron Garcia
As immortalized in the state record books, via the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association website, Marvin Ridge’s Kyle Parker is a midfielder. That’s the position at which the organization named Parker to its 2011 all-state list, so that’s what he’ll be remembered as.
But the label is misleading when it comes to defining Parker and his role on the pitch during the 2011 season for the Mavs, who finished in the Class 3A state semifinals with a 21-3-2 record.
Mavs coach Ray Fumo preferred to use a broader brush when painting Parker’s position.
“As the game changed, he’d change right with it,” Fumo said. “He wasn’t a forward. He wasn’t a midfielder. He was basically an ‘attacking’ player.”
If you want to get technical about it, Parker, the 2011 Union County Weekly Boys Soccer Player of the Year, played the role of attacking center midfielder this year for the Mavs. His role, simply speaking? Go to the spot that gave the team the best chance to score, whether off his foot or a teammate’s. The result was 30 goals and 20 assists for Parker, a Charlotte 49ers recruit.
“I really had a lot of leeway to (play) what I thought the team needed at the time,” said Parker, who was named the Southern Carolina 3A/4A conference’s Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
The role seemed to fit Parker. As a year-round soccer player, he’s played with some top-flight talent, which he said helped him develop an appreciation for finding open teammates.
“I’ve always looked at myself as a team player,” he said. “I think an assist is just as good as a goal. To me, being able to put other people in scoring positions and letting them score is fine with me. Getting the win is the most important thing.”
The rest of the nation seemed to take notice of Parker’s season, as he was named to the inaugural High School Soccer All-American Game. Parker played for the East team in the game, which took place in December in Birmingham, Ala.
Parker said he had a “great time” facing some of the nation’s other top players and loved the experience. He liked that his hard work throughout the years was rewarded.
But as was the case with his 2011 statistics, Parker preferred to let his teammates in on the fun.
“I kind of look at it as a team award,” he said, “because really, my teammates helped me get that award. They really put their trust in me.”