Published on December 8th, 2019 | by Staples Soccer0
2019 Banquet Honors 3 Great Teams
The final event of the 2019 season — the 61st annual Staples High School boys soccer banquet — was held tonight. As always, it was a cause for pride, reflection, memories, joy and love.
Over 200 players, parents, siblings and friends honored the varsity, reserve and freshman teams. The Norwalk Inn event included heartfelt speeches by coaches and athletes, and several awards.
Head coach Dan Woog noted the evening’s several themes. There was sadness that the varsity team was together for the last time; pride in on-field achievements, including playing with skill, poise, grace, toughness and creativity; satisfaction in setting lofty goals and reaching many of them, and eagerness in looking ahead to 2020.
Throughout the night, Woog cited the 2019 team’s commitment to honoring their legacy — and adding one more page to Staples soccer’s storied history.
The 2 Block “S” awards went to Patricio Perez Elorza and Benny Feuer.
In a landslide vote by teammates, Perez Elorza won the Most Valuable Player Award. Woog cited the central midfielder for his skill, vision, competitive spirit and leadership.
Feuer received the Most Improved Player Award. The defender — a reserve player a year ago — worked hard to earn a starting spot, then got even better match by match. He helped anchor a back line that played excellent team defense — and added 4 goals in 5 games at the end of the season.
The Alumni Award — given for exemplifying “the values that have been the foundation of the Staples program since its inception” — went to 3 seniors: Emerson Anvari, Carter Bassler and Colin Corneck. The trio — all reserve players last year — earned varsity spots through hard work, total commitment and superb character. They fully understand the legacy that preceded them, and are excellent role models for all who follow. They “totally get” Staples soccer, Woog said, and alumni should be supremely proud of them.
The Jeff Lea Award — presented to adults for “long, enthusiastic and meritorious service to the Staples boys soccer program” — went to Jem Sollinger. A midfielder and captain on the 1987 team coached by Lea, he has served Staples soccer in many ways, from The Top of the Hill Team to working with the coaching staff in an advisory capacity. “Staples soccer has benefited from Jem in ways no one will ever know,” Woog said.
The evening included strong speeches by coaches, captains Sam Liles and Surya Balaji, and senior Perez Elorza. All highlighted not just wins and losses, but the unbreakable bonds and important lessons each season has taught.
A superb slide show, created by Christina Bassler — also the banquet mastermind — was another evening highlight.
In addition, reserves coaches Russell Oost-Lievense and Reilly Lynch honored Thomas Corridon as Most Valuable Player, and Matthew Jordan as Most Improved.
A non-varsity award was also presented by freshman coach Chris O’Dell. Josh Deitch and Alex Laskin received the Stephen Martin Award. It is presented annually to a freshman player or players who best epitomize Steve’s “special spirit, by combining the desire to excel with the willingness to work and the eagerness to share.”