Tommy Trupo was arguably the most decorated high school player to ever emerge from West Virginia. I wrote as much earlier this fall. He had three state titles, two Gatorade state player of the year trophies and finished his high school career at Charleston Catholic with 102 career goals. As far as West Virginia is concerned, pre-professional careers didn’t get any better.
But Tommy, who’s currently playing for Marshall, has a brother. His name is Joey, and he just completed his junior year at the Charleston Catholic program his brother dominated. But Joey is forging his own path, and by its end it might take him above a brother that set the state of West Virginia alight.
This week, Joey led Charleston Catholic to the state Class AA-A title with the game-breaking penalty kick. That avenged a shock loss in the state semifinals last year and guided the Irish to their fifth state title in six years. In that sense, Joey is on pace to tie his brother’s mark for state titles with three if he can go out on top as a senior. But he’s already surpassed his brother’s 102 career goals mark after he scored an eye-watering 59 goals along with 19 assists in his junior year. In that sense, he’s already surpassed his decorated older brother.
But the comparisons persist. In a recent interview, Joey spoke on dealing with that balance.
“I used to get annoyed with that but I got over it,” Trupo said. “My integrity level is higher as a junior and people put me as my own person. I don’t care as much anymore. I think I’ve proved myself through my play.”
Indeed he has. Joey still has another year to make an even wider mark on Charleston Catholic, and by the time he leaves he may find himself on even more hallowed ground than his successful brother.
FAB 50 national champions crowned
Every year, the conclusion of each of the three high school seasons brings the crowning of the FAB 50 national champs, the most anticipated moment of any high school postseason. The jam-packed fall season got its notices this week, and there weren’t many surprises on the last week of the year.
On the boys side, St. Benedict’s won the title and wrested it back from McDonogh, last year’s champ thanks in part to a loss to Salesianum that ended the Gray Bees’ 70+ game winning streak. It also kept adding to the St. Benedict’s dynasty that essentially began in 2001. After winning their first such title 13 years ago, St. Benedict’s has six of them, including three of the last four. No other team has won more than one in the same stretch. Props.
On the girls side, Northern California power Maria Carrillo’s two-year reign at the top finally came tumbling down with the help of McDonogh, which compensated for the loss of its boys crown with one for its girls team. Despite a lineage of producing Division I players and winning titles, this was McDonogh’s first national title since the award fired up in 1999. A 15-0-0 season held off a charging field and pushed the team into 2015 with a winning streak to protect.
California’s confusing dynamic explained
California is unquestionably the most confusing state in the nation when it comes to high school soccer. The CIF is fragmented into many parts, and there are at least a handful of regional and local high school leagues playing in all three seasons, the only state to follow that rubric. The fall season is largely left to NorCal teams that want to escape winter weather, the winter is the purview of SoCal teams to pounce on the mild winter, and the spring is a mix of both. Inside that, though, is a confusing menagerie of rules, leagues and regional oddities.
So as the winter season cranks up, isn’t it time you understood the CIF system? SoCal is home to arguably the most robust high school soccer scene for both boys and girls in the nation, and this article aims to help you understand how it all works. San Diego? Los Angeles? The Bay Area? Buckle up.
Previewing the winter
Speaking of the winter season, now that the fall slate is over we can officially turn our attention to the winter. There are only seven states that play winter soccer, but three of them - Texas, California and Florida - are three of the most populous in the nation. The highlight every year is Montverde’s MAST tourney, which has a loaded slate for 2015. But there are more states firing up.
In Arizona, uncertainty is the name of the game. Texas is in the midst of football playoffs and hasn’t turned its attention to soccer yet, which doesn’t fire up until January, but in Florida the Orlando Sentinel took a swing at previewing a handful of the state’s best teams for the season. As soon as one state association finishes, another fires up. The beauty of high school soccer at work.