State champs lead way in county
Brenda Ahearn/The Bowie Star
Player of the Year
Brian Graham, Bowie, Jr., F
The talented forward from Bowie gave opposing defenders and goalies plenty of trouble all season. Graham led the Bulldogs with 21 goals and added 12 assists while taking 66 shots on goal. He had four three-goal games, including a hat trick in the Bulldogs' 4-2 league victory over Eleanor Roosevelt. He was named to the Maryland Association of Coaches of Soccer All-State First Team and the junior already is getting looks from several Division I colleges.
Coach of the Year
Richard Kirkland, Bowie, 20th season
In his 20th season, Kirkland guided Bowie to a perfect season and its first Class 4A state title in 17 years. The Bulldogs scored two second-half goals to upend Perry Hall, 2-1, in the state title game after they edged Severna Park, 1-0, in the state semifinals and slipped past High Point by the same score in the 4A South Region final. Kirkland boasts a stellar 237-71-13 (.751) career record as the Bulldogs' coach since 1989, including a 149-17-4 league record and 46-17 playoff mark.
Josh Patterson, Bowie, Sr., M
The senior controlled the midfield for the 4A state champion Bulldogs and frequently fed forwards with superb lead passes. He had 19 goals and 14 assists, including a hat trick against Oxon Hill and was selected first-team all-state by the Maryland Association of Coaches of Soccer.
Daniel Walker, Bowie, Sr., D
The senior was a genuine force on defense. Blessed with good size and a strong leg, Walker occasionally caught opponents off guard by running forward. He scored two goals and added five assists.
Chris Hegni, DeMatha, Sr., F
Hegni did not miss a beat as the best player on one of the area's best teams. A three-year starter, the senior scored 25 goals on his way to being named Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He will continue his career at Ohio State.
Ayonio Goriola, DuVal, Jr., Striker
The junior striker was one of the highest-scoring players in the county. He used his speed and ability to shoot with both feet to score 26 goals for the Tigers, who advanced to the 4A South Region semifinals before losing in a penalty kick shootout to High Point.
Stefan Berkeley, DeMatha, Sr., G
The senior goalkeeper recorded nine shutouts and was named All-WCAC First Team. Berkeley's play helped the Stags to an undefeated regular season.
Banjo Kunle, Largo, Jr., F/M/D
The junior made an impact on the attack, though he also spent considerable time as a midfielder and defender. He led the Lions with 15 goals.
Kevin Fonseca-Diaz, Bladensburg, So., F
The sophomore helped spark the Mustangs' attack, leading the team with 16 goals while adding six assists. His game is bolstered by a powerful free kick, as he is capable from converting on set plays from 30 yards out or more.
Jose Leiva, Laurel, So., F
The forward should be among the county's top scorers the next two seasons. He led the Spartans with 14 goals this past fall as a sophomore.
Cody Pearson, DeMatha, Sr., D
The senior defender was like a coach on the field as the Stags' captain this season. His leadership complimented his play as he scored two goals and had five assists.
Matt Velky, High Point, Sr., D
The senior managed to score four goals from his sweeper position. But his greatest value came as the anchor to the Eagles' defense. Velky helped High Point notch six shutouts and advance to the 4A South Region final.
Mayowa Alli, McNamara, Jr., D
The junior played an integral role for the Mustangs from his spot on the back line. He led the defense and also proved capable of distributing the ball to help kick start the attack. A first-team all-WCAC selection this year, he has attracted recruiting interest from the University of Akron.
Justin Maldonado, Surrattsville, Fr.
The freshman played a key role, scoring 15 goals and displayed superior technical ability the Hornets will rely on for the next three seasons.
Elias Garcia, Crossland, So., F
The county's top scorer this season, the sophomore led the Cavaliers to the county championship game and a No. 1 seed in the 3A South Region playoffs. Garcia scored 27 goals in the regular season and three in the playoffs, as Crossland advanced to the regional semifinals and went 10-2.
Travis Dennis, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sr., M
The talented senior patrolled the midfield and looked to get the rest of the Raiders involved. The team's captain, he scored six goals and added eight assists.
Curtis Fisher, Bowie
Patrick Thornton, Bowie
Esmir Lugonjic, Bowie
Kenan Dzelalic, Bowie
Joel Musa, High Point
Brian Alvarez, DeMatha
Kolawole Kekere-Ekun, DeMatha
Idris Iman, Laurel
Michael Belshay, Eleanor Roosevelt
John Leimbach, McNamara
German Rios, Bladensburg
Irvin Gonzales, Bladensburg
Danis Guzman, Central
Arnadu Jalloh, Central
Abdul Mamoud, Surrattsville
Kyle Curran, St. Vincent Pallotti