Norwin’s Carter Breen named Westmoreland County Boys Soccer Player of the Year
By: Bill Beckner Jr.
Saturday, December 1, 2018 | 4:33 PM
Tribune-Review Westmoreland Boys Soccer Player of the Year
Sr., F, Norwin
A flash down the far sideline, Norwin forward Carter Breen dashes into the final third of the field, uses an advanced move to leave a defender dizzy and canons one into the back of the net.
He proceeds to do this many more times, all while guiding his teammates to a memorable run in his senior season.
Breen put together his own highlight reel, scoring 36 goals and assisting on 16 others while leading the Knights to their first WPIAL title game appearance in the sport since 1989.
For his efforts, Breen is the Tribune-Review Westmoreland Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Greensburg Central Catholic senior Luke Mort and senior Markello Apodiakos of Belle Vernon also were finalists.
Breen, who became Norwin’s all-time leading goal scorer (68), also was named the WPIAL Class 4A co-player of the year in a vote by coaches.
“Carter is a bonafide goal scorer,” Norwin coach Scott Schuchert said. “Most goal scorers or superstars are arrogant or full of themselves.
“He is humble and has been committed to Norwin his entire life. He paved the way for the younger kids, my son included, on how to be a good sport with sensational talent. The college that commits to him will be lucky. What a team player and person.”
It had been since 2010 that Norwin advanced past the WPIAL first round. But this run stretched far past breaking a curse; it had a WPIAL runner-up finish and an appearance in the PIAA playoffs.
Breen also kicked for the football team. He was 22 for 24 on extra points, and made 5 of 7 field goals, including a 39-yard attempt.
Breen, who garnered all-section, All-WPIAL and all-state honors, took some time for a year-end Q&A:
You had a thrilling final season with the Knights that included a long-awaited playoff win and an appearance in the Class 4A championship game. What was it like to be a part of that run?
This season was surreal. I am so glad that the team’s hard work finally paid off after so many years.
What college offers do you have and when do you plan to make your commitment?
I have a few visits coming up soon, and I hope to make a decision before Christmas.
How did you maintain your fast-paced style all season? You seemed to put your body through a lot.
The whole team conditioned over the summer leading into preseason camp. We were in the best shape possible before the season started. For everyone to show up in great shape is so key.
What was your fondest memory from high school soccer?
Playing at Highmark Stadium in the WPIAL championship. The atmosphere and venue were great. To see your entire community in the stands, at a stadium like that, pulling for you, is pretty amazing. Even though it wasn’t the result we wanted, it was still an unforgettable experience.
How do you want Norwin fans to remember you?
I want to be remembered as a great captain and leader. When the kids and ball boys would come to the games I would make sure to talk to every single one of them about their games or practices to keep them motivated to be in my position one day. I loved that some ball boys would wait around for me, both after soccer and football games, to talk. I hope to watch some of them at Norwin Stadium some day.
Was it tough bouncing between soccer and football games?
(Football) Coach (Dave) Brozeski was very understanding of when I had to miss certain practices for soccer games and the same goes for (soccer) coach (Scott) Schuchert. They both were very supportive. It was pretty cool to have both teams come out to support the other for games. I was lucky to be able to do both of these sports the last two years.
Did you have a similar thought process for a long free kick and a field goal?
Yes. For field goals, I focused on getting good contact with the ball and the height. Also, I did the best I could to stay focused with all the noise surrounding me. For free kicks, I would talk to my teammates to negotiate where I should place it and then execute it to the best of my ability.
What is the team’s “DSR” Trophy” and who did you pass it along to?
The (Dangle Snipe Riccelli) trophy was passed down to me by a senior, Anthony Ricelli, my freshman year. He explained that I was the most similar to him and his playing style. I passed it down to a freshman this year, T.J. Rose. He wore No. 6 on the freshman team and resembles me in a lot of ways.
Who is your favorite pro soccer player and team?
My favorite professional team is Barcelona. When I was younger I visited Barcelona to play in a tournament. When we were in the city, we visited Camp Nou which is where Barcelona plays. I loved the atmosphere and love how they play. My favorite player is Lionel Messi. His pace and desire for scoring goals is what I base my game off of.
What was the best advice coach Scott Schuchert shared with you?
Before the season started he told the team to stay focused on the little things in our game, and they will come together in the end to create the best season the team will ever have.
What’s the most wanted soccer item on your Christmas wish list?
I’m getting the best soccer-related gift: me and my family are leaving on Christmas Day to travel to Costa Rica. We are meeting my cousins there, two really talented soccer players. I’m looking forward to many games of beach soccer all week long.
What’s your favorite Christmas movie?
Has to be “Elf.” I love Will Ferrell.
Markello Apodiakos, Sr., F, Belle Vernon
Duquesne recruit had 27 goals and 12 assists to lead Leopards. United Soccer Coaches All-Region, all-state, All-WPIAL selection broke program career records for goals (89) and points (212).
Anthony DiFalco, Fr., F, Franklin Regional
Emerging talent helped lead Panthers to WPIAL Class 3A championship and scored game-winning goal in title game. All-WPIAL pick had eight goals, nine assists.
Auston Kranick, Sr., F, Franklin Regional
All-state and All-WPIAL selection was leading scorer for WPIAL Class 3A champions. Produced 17 goals and seven assists.
Jeremy Lucas, Sr., GK, Franklin Regional
Key member of Panthers’ superb defense that allowed just six goals in 22 games. All-WPIAL keeper had 16 shutouts.
Luke Mort, Sr., F, Greensburg C.C.
Pitt recruit led WPIAL Class A runner-up Centurions with 35 goals and 18 assists. Was All-WPIAL selection.
Sam Napper, Sr., F, Mt. Pleasant
Section 2-2A Player of Year helped Vikings return to WPIAL quarterfinals as he scored 14 goals and added 11 assists. Garnered All-WPIAL recognition for second time.
Jake Nebinski, Sr., MF, Norwin
Handed out 27 assists for Norwin, which reached WPIAL Class 4A championship game. All-WPIAL pick also scored 11 goals.
Brad Tait, Sr., MF, Mt. Pleasant
Named All-WPIAL for second straight season. Scoring threat with 12 goals played key role in playoff run.
Zach Ullum, Sr., MF, Norwin
All-WPIAL player scored 19 goals and passed out 18 assists for the Knights, who reached the WPIAL finals and PIAA playoffs.
Nate Ward, Jr., MF, Greensburg C.C.
All-WPIAL pick helped power high-scoring GCC to WPIAL runner-up and PIAA semifinals. Had 25 goals and 13 assists.
Bill Beckner is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BillBeckner.