High school boys soccer: Teams would not have been the same without 2014 Deseret News MVPs
“Teagan was about the team and not the individual,” Kennedy said, noting that Ricks contributed greatly to the Eagles’ 10 shutouts. “He said it like it was and didn’t tolerate any nonsense on the field”
On top of his efforts on the defensive end of the field, Ricks took the team’s long set pieces and scored all three of his goals during crucial moments. He was 3 for 3 with penalty kicks.
Ricks grew with the team, which went from missing the playoffs in both 2011 and 2012 to a first-round loss last season before winning the 2014 title.
“He is a responsible and respectful player who loves to play soccer,” Kennedy said. “He is admired by the team and coaching staff.”
Caesar Perez, Dixie
Midway through the Flyers’ first meeting with Snow Canyon in the middle of the season, Dixie was down a goal on the scoreboard and down a player on the field.
“Caesar had the game of a lifetime,” Dixie coach Burt Myers said of how the player sparked the Flyers in the second half of that game. “He had a goal and a pass that set up the winning goal in overtime. We played a man down and came back, and that’s just who he was for us.”
More than his scoring ability, though, it was Perez’s ability to see three steps ahead and move the ball to his teammates.
“He just understands the game. He has a sixth sense for the game,” Myers said. “He always puts himself in the right place at the right time. He can thread a ball through two defenders and hit a player on a run. He has set us up a number of times with those long, smooth passes.”
Perez totaled 10 goals and 10 assists during his senior season as the Flyers won their second title in three seasons.
“He is a quiet leader, but he goes out and performs hard,” Myers said of Perez’s contribution to Dixie’s 2014 championship run. “It's like having a coach on the field. He talks to kids on the field, tells them, 'Look for this, this is available, try that.'”
Much of what allowed Perez to be such a strong team leader for the Flyers was his happy personality, calm demeanor and team-first attitude.
“He's a kid that doesn't need his name in lights. He wants his team to succeed,” Myers said. “He doesn't like to lose and takes awhile to get over it. I think his teammates pick up on that, they learn that from him.”
The coach then added, “He is one of those kids you don't replace very easily.”
Tristan Broadbent, Waterford
With just two losses on the season, one of which was against a 3A school, there is no doubt Waterford is a good team. Without Broadbent on the field, however, head coach George Shirley said it would have been a much greater challenge to win the Ravens’ first title since 2011.
“Without Tristan in the middle, we are a completely different team, and not in a positive way,” Shirley said. “He anchors our entire team working on both sides of the ball.”
He is the quintessential quiet leader. Reserved, intelligent and driven, he is always the first to complete drills in practice. Shirley said Broadbent is not one to exert his leadership by yelling, but his level of play is infectious.
“He has a higher work rate than any high-schooler I've been around,” Shirley said. “He wins balls out of the air and then works back to collect the ball to make it a productive offensive effort as well.”
Broadbent scored six goals over the course of the season and helped the Ravens earn the title after experiencing a first round and a quarterfinal exit from the 2A state tournament over the last two years.
Looking ahead, the best part for Shirley is the team leader is only a junior.
“I get him one more year, and I am just excited to be around him one more year,” the coach said. “I expect great things from him, not just next year but lifelong. He is an incredibly talented and intellectual individual and I am very proud of him.”
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.