By BRIAN JENNINGS
A couple of Blue Knights represented Southington at the Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association Senior Bowl on Sunday, Nov. 22 at Middletown High School. Senior captain and defenseman Ryan Burrill and senior forward Bryan Doyle played for the Region II team.
“To have Ryan and Bryan selected to play in the Senior Bowl says a lot about our team and the season we had,” said Southington boys soccer coach Dave Yanosy.
Yanosy coached the Region I team along with Ben Kulas of Lewis Mills in Burlington. Region II defeated Region I, 4-3, and East Lyme’s James Foster was named Most Valuable Player of the game. Region II was coached by Colin Delaney of Montville and Rob Jachym of Wethersfield.
Burrill was the Knights’ only team captain for the 2015 season, and Yanosy said that he handled the hefty responsibility in a way that only a true leader could. The coach said that Burrill’s boisterous attitude sparked the chemistry, and his communication skills were irreplaceable.
Whether the Knights were on the attack or on guard, Burrill was always seen talking his teammates through the situation as the ball shifted from one side to the other, in order to keep them at an even-keel level and maintain the game plan. Even when his team was down a few goals, Burrill told his guys to keep fighting and stay hungry.
His defense also helped lay the foundation for the Knights’ success. At times, Burrill might have been mistaken for a forward, finishing his senior season with five goals and three assists from the center back position. Yet, he still played both sides of the ball and sustained his duty as a defender, anchoring a defense that posted eight shutouts.
“Ryan had a fantastic year,” the coach said. “He was our lone captain, and he handled that responsibility in a mature and confident manner. His leadership and high-level consistency of play were a large reason for our success this year. Ryan’s postseason accolades are well-deserved and speak volumes about his abilities and character.”
Doyle played the forward position with heart, tenacity, and plenty of speed, flying up and down the field for a fast break or in transition to get back on defense. He played the game without fear, leaping in the air to win jump balls or score on headers off of corner kicks. He served as a force on offense and played the game with a brazen style of play, never afraid to test the opposing offenses and take the ball into enemy territory himself. Doyle finished his senior season with three goals and four assists.
“Bryan had a fantastic year as well,” said Yanosy. “He brought a sense of toughness to our team as well as an attacking mentality. This was never more evident than in the state tournament against NFA when Bryan scored 55 seconds into the match. He is a gritty competitor and this is a wonderful achievement.”
Burrill and Doyle were also named to the All-Conference team, along with teammate and senior forward Erik Schneider. Schneider finished the year with eight goals and three assists. Burrill made the All-State team as well.