Soccer teams honored on MaxPreps Tour of Champions

on January 17, 2019

During a ceremony held at halftime of the boys basketball game, the Monroe-Woodbury boys and girls soccer teams were recognized as two of the best high school teams in the nation by MaxPreps, the online high school sports leader and a CBSSport.com site.

“The MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard honors the very best high school teams in the nation,” stated Andy Beal, president and founder of MaxPreps. “To qualify, you must be highly ranked nationally by MaxPreps; and you must also win a state championship. Those are tough qualifications considering there are nearly 16,000 teams competing in high school varsity soccer. Congratulations to the Monroe-Woodbury Crusaders on this amazing achievement. MaxPreps and the Army National Guard are honored to recognize you for your amazing work on the field.”

The boys team, who finished their season undefeated with a record of 21-0, captured their first NYSPHSAA Class 2A Boys’ Soccer State Title after defeating Clarence in the championship match. The girls team, with a record of 19-1-1, sealed the success of their 2018 season with a 1-0 shutout win in the state championship game against Bethlehem Central, also securing their first NYSPHSAA Class 2A Girls’ Soccer State Title. Monroe-Woodbury is one of 10 boys and 10 girls teams being honored on the MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard.

“To be recognized by MaxPreps and the Army National Guard is an incredible achievement on a national level,” stated M-W boys head coach Kenneth Clearwater, who completed his third season. This is a historic first for our program and it will no doubt be a memory that the kids and coaches will never forget, just like winning the state championship itself. To receive such a special recognition is a fitting end to the boys’ tremendous accomplishments. It is validation that all of the hard work, all of the fitness, all of the desire to get to this endpoint was worth it.”

Clearwater attests the success of the boys’ team this year to the continuity of players, remarking upon the 10 seniors who he had been working with at the varsity level since their sophomore year. This extensive attention and conditioning allowed these seniors to develop into champions, like Connor Paik, who was an All-American and All-Region player, also selected for the All-State first team and winner of the Varsity845 Player of the Year. Christian Garner also received the honor of All-Region player and played on the All-State first team.

For the girls, head coach William Mpasiakos had a method for success of his own, utilizing the 4-3-2-1 playing system. He pushed the girls to build mental and physical toughness, sharpening their athletic and strategic skills to prepare them for any possible circumstance.

“Many athletes talk about being great, but our girls work and put time in,” stated Mpasiakos.

Junior Katelyn Salatto, who was the top goal scorer and assist leader, was chosen, alongside teammates junior Elizabeth Allen, senior Jillian Fabbro and senior Colleen Kinsella, as Section 9 Double AA team All-Stars.

“These young ladies are so talented and have worked so hard to achieve all their recognition,” said Mpasiakos. “We’re humbled to be involved. Thank you for this recognition.”

New York Army National Guard Sergeant Adam Rivera presented coaches Clearwater and Mpasiakos and their respective teams with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy. The teams also received a banner for their accomplishments.

“The Army National Guard embodies teamwork and a commitment to community and country. Just as your team joins together to defeat adversity and claim the victory, the Army National Guard stands in solidarity to protect our local communities and the United States of America as a whole,” said Captain Charlton Grant. “On behalf of the Army National Guard, I am honored to recognize these nationally ranked championship teams for their dedication, perseverance and teamwork.”