2018-19 The Berkshire Eagle All Stars: Boys soccer
Player of the Year
Carter Matthews, Pittsfield, Senior
A dictionary definition of the word 'talisman' is as follows: "a person regarded as representing and inspiring a particular group." For the 2018 Pittsfield boys soccer team, Carter Matthews certainly fits that definition.
Matthews, a senior, led the Generals to a Berkshire North title this year and an appearance in the Western Mass. Division I tournament. He put up a team-high 13 goals, but just as importantly, he led his team with 13 assists, as well, for a 26-point senior campaign. Matthews recorded at least one point in 13 games this season, and had multi-point outings in seven games. He had two-goal games five times, and for his career Matthews finished with 31 goals and 19 assists.
Matthews netted in the team's win over Mount Greylock, scored a brace in a 3-2 win over East Longmeadow, scored in the team's 1-1 draw with West Springfield in the regular season, and set up Hedi Abderrahim for a goal in the team's tie with Ludlow.
Matthews, while not a towering figure in attack, provided the Generals with a valuable pressure-release valve up top, and his speed gave opposing defenses fits as they tried to contain him.
Offensive Player of the Year
Noel Powell, Monument Mountain, Senior
The Spartans got offense from throughout the lineup this year, but Powell's presence in the middle of the field made life that much easier for the rest of his teammates.
Powell was able to utilize his use size and ability to overwhelm opposing midfields, and used his skills to tally nine goals and five assists on the year. If hockey assists were counted in soccer, Powell might also have a shout at leading Berkshire County in that category, as his passes to unlock opposing defenses allowed his forwards and wingers to get into good positions to score.
He scored the only goal in the team's win over Wahconah early in the season, recorded multi-point games in three different contests in 2018, and scored a brace in two separate games. His best outing of the year was a two-goal, two-assist game against Franklin Tech in the Western Mass. Division III tournament.
Defensive Player of the Year
Hedi Abderrahim, Pittsfield, Junior
While Hedi Abderrahim's position could be up for debate — at times he looked like a midfielder for PHS, at others a defender — his influence on the pitch cannot be denied. A towering figure on the field, Abderrahim also possesses a high motor that allows him to zip around to wherever his team needs him. Abderrahim could fall back and slot into the defense to help anchor the back line, but he also could pick the ball up in his defensive end, and drive it all the way to the other team's goal.
Abderrahim helped his team to seven clean sheets on the year, including three in the Berkshire North as the Generals went on to claim the league crown.
He also knew how to find the goal when needed. Despite playing further back on the pitch, Abderrahim had 10 goals for PHS, the second most of any player. His 10 points on the year were also third-best, behind Berkshire Eagle All-Star MVP Carter Matthews (26) and midfielder Sam Higuera (14)
Coach of the Year
Andrew Antil, Pittsfield
The veteran gaffer for the Generals, Antil helped lead his team to a Berkshire North crown (6-1-1) this season and a spot in the Western Mass. Division I tournament. Antil was never afraid to move around his players to put them in positions to excel, and the proof was in the pudding with an 11-4-3 regular season mark.
A master of tweaking formations, Antil is a constant fixture on the sideline shouting words of encouragement to his players. Antil was never afraid to change up how his team was defending an opposing squad, and when his team needed offense Antil would respond with another formation tweak to get more of his players forward. Antil was fortunate to have a group of upperclassmen to lead by example, but he also showed off his coaching nous by giving key minutes to underclassmen like Luke Peplowski and Gabe Rich.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.