Top soccer players to watch in 2022

By DONNELL COLEY
Sports Editor
Posted 7/29/22

Here’s a look at the top guys from Record clubs ahead of the Aug. 15 soccer season opener. 

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Top soccer players to watch in 2022

Posted

The high school boys soccer season is just over two weeks away and local teams are set to begin their first official practices.

Last fall saw four area clubs advance to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state playoffs, with one taking a share of the All American Conference regular-season title. A host of players from those squads return to the pitch in 2022.

Here’s a look at the top guys from Record clubs that should have the most impact when the soccer season kicks off on Aug. 15. 

Daniel Sykes, GK, Overhills – A phenomenal freshman season saw the Jags keeper rank among the best at his position statewide. The lanky, 6-foot-2 goalie finished 12th in the state, and led the All American Conference (AAC), with 224 saves. Sykes posted double-digit saves in all but three contests and had nine matches allowing one goal or less, including two shutout wins. He figures to be a key cog again for Overhills, looking to build off its 7-11 campaign.

Omar Hernandez, MF, Triton – The Hawks’ leader in goals among returners, Hernandez took more of a secondary role for a veteran-laden 2021 squad that went 15-8 overall. Still, he scored in all but three games and was one of just four players in the AAC to finish with both double-digit goals and assists totals. The loss of high-powered scorers Benny Villalvazo and Franciso Martinez, to graduation, provides plenty of opportunities for Hernandez to leave his own imprint.

Adrian Flores, F, Harnett Central – A breakout sophomore season saw Flores lead a resurgent Central in goals scored. He found the net twice in at least three matches a year ago, including an extra-time, 2-1, thriller over Triton on Oct. 20. The Trojans posted their first winning campaign –12-6 overall – since 2015, sharing top AAC honors during the regular season. Flores hopes to lead a talented bunch that sees most of its starters returning.

Abraham Florido, MF, Midway – Another standout sophomore last year, Florido helped the Raiders post their first winning record – 10-9-1 – since 2014. He is the club’s leading scorer among returners, notching four multi-goal contests including a hat trick during the Oct. 20 win over West Bladen. Florido looks to help Midway make back-to-back postseason appearances, despite the loss of its top offensive producer.

Henry Jorge-Garcia, F, Hobbton – A trying 2021 campaign saw COVID-19 issues derail most of Hobbton’s season. Despite the program’s conference-title streak ending, Jorge-Garcia helped the group qualify for its ninth consecutive playoff appearance. He brings the confidence of 16 goals and five assists from last year with him as the Wildcats hope to regain their dominance over the Carolina 1A Conference.

Keep an eye on

DeShawn Carty, GK, Harnett Central

Richard Diego, MF, Harnett Central

Braxton Davis, GK, Triton

Mario Soto, MF, Hobbton

Ryan Riopedre, MF, Overhills

Donnell Coley can be reached at dcoley@mydailyrecord.com or 910-230-2040.

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