Article Written by Sheldon Shealer
Published: December 7, 2017
Even in a game of all-stars there were those who stood out above the rest. Based on observation and coaches input, here is the Best XI for the High School Boys All-American Game for fall players, which was played Saturday, Dec. 2, at Celebration High School in Florida.
Boys All-America Game Best XI
Not flashy like the East forwards, but very productive where it matters most -- on the scoreboard. One of three really strong forwards for the West, Melick scored the goal that gave the West a 2-0 lead and changed the tone of the game.
Perhaps the most dynamic offensive player in the All-American Game. He had dangerous speed, dangerous feet and was able to get behind defenses. Unfortunately for the East, he was not able to finish, which had a lot to do with the West co-MVP Elian Haddock
Wittenbrink scored five minutes into the game and again in the second half, and he ended up sharing the West MVP honors with goalkeeper Elian Haddock
. One coach said, "He was exceptional through the entire game." Wittenbrink was powerful and had an excellent first touch that was able to eliminate the defender.
He started out a bit choppy but by the second half Blynn might have been the best player on the field. He was tricky on the ball and was able to get out of tight spaces.
As one coach put it, "I'm blown away that he's not committed to a major college." Gomez played a major part in the team's 2-0 early lead, serving up an assist for the second goal. After the East took over, Gomez returned to the field and took leadership for the West. He managed the game well and every player had confidence in him, so they started playing balls through him.
Omar earned the East MVP honors, and really stood out among the players. He had good feet, he was strong in the air and was exceptionally comfortable on the ball. Many of the East's scoring chances were created with Omar somewhere in the mix.
Despite eye-popping career numbers (103 goals, 163 assists), Phillips might have entered the game a bit under the radar. He quickly showed that he belonged. One coach praised his ability to be effective while on the ball. Another coach was amazed at how "the ball always seemed to find him."
Cyrus made coaches take notice right away with his work ethic at the Friday practice session. That transferred well to the field where he proved to be a classic wing back, consistent on defense and able to move forward into the attack.
Goede was up to the task in the center, defending some of the nation's most creative offensive players. One coach thought his ability to man up on opponents was key to the team's positive result. Another coach felt Goede was the best defender for the West.
Richardson, an Under-17 National Team call-up, was tabbed as the best defender on the East squad by East coaches. He was solid defensively throughout the entire match.
A tall, shot-blocking goalkeeper who is a throw-back to former US Soccer National Team keepers. Haddock made four or five really key saves to keep the West comfortably in the lead. He showed great range, he attacked crossed balls and met them at the highest point, and showed good foot skills for a big keeper on balls played back to him. Opposing players even felt he was a game-changer. Haddock was the West co-MVP with Ryan Wittenbrink
Others Who Stood Out