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Jun, 2015

Noah Zelch Wins RAYSL Boys Player of the Season

Zelch, left, with his trademark smile.

Noah Zelch has been named Riverside Area Youth Soccer League's Spring 2015 Boys Player of the Season by the RAYSL coaches in a season-ending vote.

In his first season at the U12 level, the 11-year-old manned the left side of the back line as Coach Geoff Lusty explained, "He plays left back, which is a position where you are normally matched up against the opposition’s most talented and speedy offensive threats and that was certainly true in Noah’s case.  He battled each and every week to shut down the opponent’s right side."

Lusty's defense was the key to the team's 5-2 record, anchoring the team through an injury and flu-riddled season.  "This award could/should go to our entire group of back’s - Anthony Spadafore, Mark Hewitt, and Noah.  But Noah consistently exceeded expectations throughout each and every game," said the Coach.

Club Technical Director Walter Clapton noted Zelch's mental approach to the game and it's impact on the defense. "He has applied his ability to read the game which in turn made him a huge asset in the back line for his team, which definitely contributed to the season of good results they had," said Clapton.

"Zelch was in his first year in U12, so he couldn't match the size of some of his opponents, but he made up for it with positioning and smooth, efficient play off of the ball," said RAYSL Vice President Derek Zona.

Lusty agreed, adding "His poise and patience improved each week as he learned how to defend players who were bigger, faster and stronger than he is."

Combine the mental approach, positioning and agility, and according to Clapton, Zelch is an on-field force. "His reaction time in 1-on-1 defensive situations is incredible, and matched with the quickness of his feet it becomes very hard to beat him. He nearly beat me on ladders this past week! It's a shame he tripped halfway through," said Clapton.

Lusty took a moment to provide a personal review of Zelch's impressive spring season, "He is one of the most positive players on the team; playing a true team game with heart, high energy and always a smile.  He never lets a single moment (good or bad) change his attitude during play.  It was just a wonderful season from Noah."

Clapton echoed the Coach's sentiment: "Noah is fully deserving of this award. He's a joy to coach due to how he listens and executes exactly what is asked, he's a polite and good kid from a great family. It is apparent he turns up every week to learn, which as one of his coaches is always something you like to see."
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