Pine-Richland star to return to London
A fourth-place finish in the WPIAL was a little short of the ultimate goal, but for the Pine-Richland boys soccer team, the 2012 season was one of the best in more than a decade.
“There has not been a season like this one since I was in seventh grade,” senior midfielder Tyler McCarthy said. “It's not where we wanted to end up, but we won the section and only gave up 8 goals (in 21 games).”
For McCarthy and the rest of the team, the best part of the season was the togetherness of the players and staff.
“Last year we had talent, but we didn't have the chemistry this team has,” McCarthy said. “This year, we had the talent and chemistry to go along with it. We had a good season.”
Pine-Richland had its share of signature wins this season, but McCarthy said the win over Seneca Valley that clinched the section title and the WPIAL quarterfinal shootout win over Kiski were great environments to be a part of.
McCarthy said another difference in this year's team is the fact he personally played a quicker game.
“I feel like other people played quicker, too, and we had our heads on a swivel,” McCarthy said.
Being a skilled player, McCarthy is weighing his college options. He will train with the Riverhounds and return to West Ham in March for his third stint with that team. West Ham United is a team in London, where McCarthy has spent time before. The speed of the game and overall skill level of the players is greater than local high schools in western Pennsylvania.
“I look forward to being the oldest player on the West Ham team,” McCarthy said. “It will be important to train with their U-18 team. Improving my skills is what I am looking for (over there).”
McCarthy said he will miss the everyday routine of his days as a Rams soccer player and talking to his coaches about what it takes to win the game.
“One thing coach (Jon) Conner definitely taught me is to not take things for granted … that before we know it, (high school) soccer will be over,” McCarthy said. “He's right. I look at it now and I will never play high school soccer again.”
The 2012 Rams set a higher bar than teams in recent memory, so the 2013 team will have great expectations. McCarthy's advice it to not expect too much, rather set attainable standards and build from there.
“Enjoy what you have — if the goals are too high, you can be left disappointed,” he said. “Set reachable goals and good things will happen.”
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.