EVESHAM – After dropping it first two games of the season, the Cherokee High School boys soccer team was looking for someone to step up and make a difference in providing that first win.
That person turned out be senior Rome Young, whose goal and assist helped the Chiefs achieve a 2-0 victory over Cherry Hill East Thursday in an Olympic Conference American Division game.
Cherokee coach Glenn Thomsen has been waiting for someone to get the Chiefs going in the wake of 2-0 losses to Shawnee and Eastern.
He was not surprised Young took on that role.
“He had a big year last year,” Thomsen of Young. “Being a senior this year he’s definitely showing a lot of leadership and sportsmanship. Today he was just laying himself out and doing whatever he could, and the team pulled behind him.”
Young knows there are a lot of expectations for him this season. He believes his teammates look to him for both moral and physical support, and he hopes to be there for them.
“I see myself as a leader on the team, and I’m up to that challenge,” he said. “I think my teammates see me as . . . this is what the they want me to be on the field. They want me to be a game-changer – always bringing energy to the team.
“I think that’s also what my coaches see me as. They always want me to be working hard and showing what the team needs to win this year.”
Fellow senior Colton Schneewies agrees that, if the Chiefs are going to play well this season, Young is one of the players who will have to be a leader.
“He works hardest on the team,” he said. “Game-in and game out – at practice he’s always the first one there. He brings us together even at times when he’s missing the shots. You’ve got to give it to him for the goal and the assist he had today.”
Rome gave the Chiefs their first goal of the season early the second half by heading in a shot on a nicely executed set piece that began on a throw-in from Keith Fisher and included an assist from Sebastion Graterol.
He then set up the clincher midway through the half when his feed to Schneewies led to a rocket shot from about 15 yards out.
“Those were like perfectly executed soccer plays that you see all the time,” Thomsen said. “We needed it. I look at it as you’re only as good as your last game and everybody was supporting everybody today.”
For his part, Young said the execution by his teammates and the precision on his goal helped lift the sagging spirits for the Chiefs.
“Getting that first goal of the season was really important to us,” he said. “We needed it to get back on our feet and it was just some motivation for us to get another one.”
When Scnheewies scored the second goal with about 20 minutes to play, Thomsen said it was the first time this season the players could relax on the field.
“To be honest, Colton has had better control games and better field position games,” Thomsen said. “But when that goal went in we were so happy. It released all that tension. He finished that goal and it couldn’t have happened at a better moment.”
It was a closely contended game throughout the match that ended with East still looking for its first win.
The Cherokee defense, backed by goalie Becker Albanna, allowed only limited chances and Albanna ended up having to make only three saves.
Neither did the Cherokee offense have many opportunities until Young finally broke through.
“No we’re back on our horse,” Thomsen said. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Cherry East 0-0-0
Goals: Rome Young, Colton Schneeweiss. Goalies, Becker Albanna, C (4 saves), Nick Feldman, CE, (9 saves)