Boys Soccer Super Team: Senior’s control led Nelson to state title

Posted Monday, May. 12, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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2014 Star-Telegram Boys Soccer Super Team

F Anthony Powell, Sr., Keller Fossil Ridge: The Offensive Player of the Year in District 4-5A has a deadly shot from any range and delivered highlight reel goals throughout the year.

F Reggie Gonzalez, Sr., Arlington: The District 3-5A MVP set the Colts’ career scoring mark this season, adding 20 to his overall total.

F Cristian Cuadra, Sr., Richland: Twice the district offensive player of the year and this year’s 4-5A MVP. His 19 goals in 2014 added to his career mark of 76.

M Ryan Dandan, Sr., Trophy Club Nelson: The District 11-4A MVP and field boss for the state-champion Bobcats. Recorded 13 goals and 18 assists.

M Matt Vafaee, Sr., Mansfield Summit: The District 16-4A Midfield MVP had 15 goals and 14 assists while anchoring a young team that quietly advanced to the regional quarterfinals.

M Michael Andrews, Sr., FW South Hills: The MVP of District 13-4A had 13 goals and seven assists to help steer the Scorpions to a second consecutive district title.

M Cristian Navarro, Jr., FW North Side: Had a flair for the dramatic goal and came up big in the Steers’ playoff run as the 13-4A Utility Player of the Year.

D Arturo Tamez, Sr., South Hills: Key figure in a three-man back line that allowed only 10 goals all season, just three coming during the run of play.

D Morgan Pendleton, Jr., Richland: Defensive Player of the Year in District 4-5A, leading a Rebels defense that surrendered just 13 goals in district play.

D Alex Lane, Sr., Arlington Martin: The core of a defense that allowed 18 goals in 25 games; was named Defensive Player of the Year in competitive District 3-5A.

GK Chase Therrien, Sr., Trophy Club Nelson: Anchored his team to the 4A title with 18 shutouts, lifting the Bobcats into the championship game by coming up with a key save in a penalty kick shootout in the semifinals.

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UIL Class 4A state champion Trophy Club Nelson prided itself as a club without a superstar — a blue-collar bunch that defined team unity on its climb to the pinnacle of the high school soccer mountain. But every train needs a driver, and for the Bobcats that was Ryan Dandan.

The senior midfielder patrolled the field as Nelson’s general, scoring 13 times and adding 18 assists as the District 11-4A MVP. But it was his control of the game that coach Howard Putter noticed most.

“His possession of the ball is unbelievable,” Putter said. “He holds possession for us in the middle and moves it around, and it’s tough to get it from him. On the other side, it’s hard on [opposing teams] to pass on him. He’s just a force in the middle to go through.”

Putter credits Dandan’s work ethic for much of his success. Ryan moved to Trophy Club from Southlake for his sophomore year, and didn’t find an immediate fit.

“After his sophomore year, he asked me what he needed to do in order to get more playing time,” Putter recalled. “Just like you tell every kid, I told him that and he said OK, and he went and did it. You tell him what needs to be done and he’s going to get it done. He’s going to take care of his business.”

Dandan proceeded to carve out some school history over his next two years, and he leaves as the school’s career assist leader with 33.

“Nobody outworks him,” Putter said. “Even when he’s hurt or sick he makes it to practice. He just works unbelievably hard. If he loses the ball, he pressures back. He’ll just do whatever you ask as hard as he can. He’s all business.

“When he came in as a sophomore, I had trouble finding a spot for him. The last two years I couldn’t take him off the field because nobody could fill his shoes, what he did on the field for us.”

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