Ravell Call, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Spectators sat and stared, opponents feared him, and the Weber Warriors simply could not go without him.
Who is this Tyler Murdock? And how on earth did he manage to score so many goals in one of the state's toughest soccer regions?
The scrappy scorer burst onto the scene as a senior, making his way to center stage after a relatively quiet past. It's not that he wasn't drumming up offense — he scored 11 goals as a junior — he just wasn't basking in the spotlight. Yet.
With 26 goals, five hat tricks, 12 assists and a new school scoring record, he arrived in a big way in 2012. And for his stellar performance this year, Murdock is the recipient of the coveted Mr. Soccer award from the Deseret News.
"I got more playing time this year, and then we just worked really well together to get me and everyone else in good positions to score," he said of the surge. "I've always known I could score goals, it just worked out this year."
The tenacious forward led Region 1 in scoring, and scored more goals than all but one — Ben Powell, who also had 26 goals — in the state, proving time and time again that he was the best of the best.
To complement his already shining resume, he brought a fresh creativity to the Warriors' offense. His crowd-awing skill in front of the net kept opponents on their heels and opened up several scoring opportunities for both him and his teammates.
"He went out and did his job," Weber coach Jan Swift said. "He worked hard in practice, worked hard in games, and didn't let anything go to his head."
With all of Murdock's achievements, he had every reason to be overconfident, yet he retained a humility that only added to his greatness.
The Weber State-bound athlete grew up playing for a variety of clubs, spending the most time with La Roca. In eighth and ninth grade, he was faced with osteochondral defects in both knees and was forced to take a break from soccer.
"I was rusty and had to work hard to get back to where I was," he said of overcoming that difficult physical trial.
Fortunately for the Warriors, the injuries healed properly just in time for his high school soccer career.
When asked about his ability to lead the state in scoring, he said, "it was cool," but he was most concerned with Weber's won-loss record. Despite a disappointing 3-1 semifinal loss to the Brighton Bengals, the Warriors enjoyed incredible success this year.
After losing their preseason opener, they won 17 straight games with several big wins and just two ties. The Warriors captured the Region 1 title with a 9-0-1 league record and finished with a 15-2-2 overall record.
"We knew we had the skill level to be one of the best in the state," Murdock said. "We had good team chemistry and played good soccer together. Every game, we got better and better."
On top of his athletic achievements, Murcock excels in the classroom as well. He boasts a 3.8 grade point average and an impressive ACT score. He plans on playing for Weber State, serving a mission for the LDS Church, and pursuing a career in the medical field upon his return.
According to Swift, Murdock is "a great young man" that works hard and is fully capable of achieving whatever he puts his mind to. If past history is any indication of future success, Murdock will be unstoppable.