Westmoreland County Senior Spotlight: Greensburg Central Catholic’s Max Szekely

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 | 11:28 AM

With high school sports starting all across the WPIAL, every team has one common goal in mind: to win a championship.

But not every team is in the position of Greensburg Central Catholic’s boys soccer team this year, where they’re coming off their first WPIAL championship loss in three seasons.

The Centurions fell to Winchester Thurston, 3-1, in the title game last season.

According to senior center back Max Szekely, who was involved in championship teams his freshman and sophomore years, the squad is motivated as ever to get the title back in the right hands.

“I think it lit a fire under us. I think we’re ready to go this year,” Szekely said. “Every game we think about it and use it as motivation.”

They’ve responded in just about the best way possible, outscoring opponents 40-9 through their first four contests this season.

“We’ve definitely come out firing, goal-wise,” Szekely said. “We’re scoring lots of great goals. I believe we have the best midfield duo in (WPIAL Class A) with Kyler Miller and Jake Gretz.”

Second-year coach Rob Fabean also has decided to change some things up, opening up the offense.

Szekely has yet to decide on a college, but he said the two schools he’s talking to the most are Chatham and Pitt-Johnstown.

Szekely took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:

How did you get started playing soccer?

I’ve played ever since I was a kid, started off playing (pee-wee) soccer as most kids do. I slowly progressed through that, playing travel, and then I ended up playing club for about six years now.

What is your take on the new style being rolled out from Coach Fabean?

I think it’s good for all of our offensive guys. They’re all hungry, but they know that every person they’re playing can put the ball in the back of the net. We don’t need to slow down against any opponent. We’re going to play the style we play. We like to play possession soccer and find each other. We welcome the change. A lot of our guys don’t have to pull back a little bit and actually play. It gives us the ability to play good soccer. We don’t have Carlo (Denis) passing the ball off to the six (deep midfielder) when he has a wide-open shot, because those are shots you’re going to have to take. Or Kyler (Miller) doesn’t have to stop taking a shot at the PK spot when that’s a shot he’s going to take in big games.

What is your biggest strength?

I think I’m very good defensively. I also think that once we get into the attack that I’m very good at breaking lines and passing. I’m very comfortable with that. It’s something that club kind of makes you get used to, just being comfortable with the ball no matter where you play. For me at center back, I’m very comfortable dribbling up if I have a space and ultimately getting the ball to my playmakers.

Is there an area where you could improve?

I definitely feel like when I go for set pieces, I need to be able to do better finishing-wise. Like when we go for corners, I need to be able to put the ball in with my head.

Is there an offensive side to the center back position?

With the way we play, I get a lot of freedom to push into the midfield and allow my guys to push up further. We like to play kind of with three back and me pushing to the six. That just allows Kyler and Jake to push up and ultimately pick off passes on the defensive side and create really good chances. I kind of just sit back and fill up the passing lanes if they are trying to work out of the back. That just allows Kyler and Jake to be creative once they get the ball. We don’t have to worry about their defensive responsibilities as much.

What is one thing that people may not know about you?

I played basketball up until eighth grade. I wasn’t just playing soccer for a lot of my life.

Why’d you decide to stick with soccer?

Ultimately, it came down to my traveling. Seventh-grade year, I already started to travel across a lot of states and once you get to freshman year, you’re in Florida and Arizona for a week. That doesn’t include North Carolina. I was kind of forced to pick, and soccer had a soft spot in my heart, I guess you could say. It was time to give up basketball, but I really enjoyed it.


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