HS: The greatest senior class ever?

HS: The greatest senior class ever?
by Fred Cantor
July 16, 2020

Comparing teams from different eras, no matter the sport, is near impossible.

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the season played by perhaps the most accomplished senior class on a single team in the history of American high school soccer.

staples hs soccerStaples soccer’s 60th-anniversary celebration in 2018.

Among other achievements, 10 seniors on the 1970 Staples High School (Westport, CT) soccer squad went on to become a captain of their college team.

To commemorate that feat, the 1970 Staples soccer team alumni have (virtually) come together to make a video edited by current Staples soccer player Alan Fiore, spinning off a Captain Morgan commercial.

The 1970 Staples HS soccer team featured an all-senior starting lineup, seven of whom were starters on the 1969 state title team. 

The ‘70 squad did not surrender a single goal in games played against CT opponents as it won its league title by a record margin in the championship game, 5-0, and then earned a second consecutive state championship after a 0-0 tie in the CIAC Class L final (at that time the largest-sized school class in soccer in CT).

In the process, the team set a then-national single-season record of 16 consecutive shutouts; and that streak of 16 is part of a still recognized national mark of 25 shutouts in a row over two seasons.

Remarkably, 12 seniors received some form of All-League recognition with seven being named First Team, two to the Second Team, and three earning Honorable Mention. Two of those seniors received All-New England honors.

13 Staples seniors went on to play varsity college soccer with, amazingly, 10 going on to become a college captain.  These were the schools the Staples alumni became captains at: Babson, Boston College, Duke, St. Lawrence, Tufts, UConn, Union, Wesleyan, Williams.

Four of those Staples seniors played on college teams that qualified for the NCAA D1 tournament and six others played on squads that made it to D2 or D3 postseason tourneys.  (And this was at a time when schools from the different divisions played against one another during the regular season.)

Four of the seniors earned all-regional honors in college; one of those four received All-American honors and he went on to play professionally in the North American Soccer League and for the U.S. Men's National Team.

Last, but not least, a 14th senior who was an occasional sub in 1970 went on to become a state- and league-champion coach: current Staples boys’ head soccer coach, Dan Woog (who is only the third head coach in the 62-year history of the team—not counting a coach who served for one year during a sabbatical by Albie Loeffler, the program’s founder).

The Staples High School soccer program has produced a number of notable soccer alumni over the years including NBC Sports commentator Kyle Martino and Clemson men’s soccer coach Mike Noonan.

The 10 captains from the 1970 team:

Tim Hunter: UConn
Dale Hollingsworth: Babson
Steve McCoy: Duke
Mark McGuire: Boston College
Wally Salwen: Tufts
Steve Levin: Wesleyan
Trip Pearce: St. Lawrence
Neil Brickley: UConn
Olaf Neilsen: Union
Tracy McIntosh: Williams

Hunter and McCoy were both selected to play in college soccer’s Senior Bowl in 1974 (and McCoy was Duke’s third-leading career scorer at the end of his senior year).

Hunter, McCoy, Hollingsworth, and Levin earned All-Regional honors; and Hunter was an Honorable Mention All-American, who played for the US National Team in the 1975 Pan American Games and also played in the NASL for several years before injuries curtailed his career.

Check out the video below.

Update from the Author: “I discovered that there was one more of my Staples ‘70 soccer squad senior classmates who earned All-Regional honors in college: Olaf Neilsen, who was named Honorable Mention All-New York State in 1974. So, in total, five Staples seniors from the 1970 squad earned All-Regional honors in college. It was such a privilege to play with such talented teammates."  -Fred Cantor.

Trending Videos
IMG Top 150 Rankings
see full ranking:
Boys Girls

High School Rankings HQ