The Myers Park boys’ soccer team has had a great tradition of forwards in recent years.From Justin Davis to Erick Suarez to Trent Carriker to Hussein Ali and more, the tradition of excellence has been passed down from team to team as the Mustangs have won 109 games in the last five years, including a state championship in 2008 and three other appearances in the state final (2010, 2011 and 2012). Senior forward Kipp Carriker hasn’t always played a starring role in Myers Park’s last three trips to the title games, but the 6-foot, 175-pound senior has been a big part of each team. He played his first varsity minutes in the 2010 final against Durham Jordan High. Kipp Carriker, who is Trent’s younger brother, was an all-region and all-Southwestern 4A conference player last year with 18 goals and eight assists. He is proud to be associated with great Myers Park forwards of the past, but that’s not how he wants to be remembered in the end.“I don’t play the game to be remembered as an individual player,” said Carriker, who has been attending Myers Park soccer games regularly since he was in middle school. “I want to be remembered as a state champion … I started my (varsity) career in that game and hopefully I can finish there as a winner.”Myers Park soccer coach Bucky McCarley and his team have begun their quest to play in a fourth straight 4A state final this summer. “Bucky breeds the will to work and will to win into you,” Carriker said. “Before we ever touch a soccer ball in the preseason, we are running wind sprints until we throw up. He reminds us that no one else is going to work that hard. That work ethic and that success been passed down from team to team. I think we all want to live up that standard.”Carriker got off to a great start in his senior season, with two “big time,” goals, according to McCarley, one against Hough in a season-opening 7-2 win, and the otheragainst Ardrey Kell in a 1-1 tie.Against Hough, Carriker turned and ripped a shot left-footed from about 18 yards into the back of the net to open the scoring and set a winning tone for his team. Then, against Ardrey Kell, Carriker finished a perfect cross with a diving header into the net to tie the game at one, on what McCarley called “a man’s finish and professional-type goal.”“Kipp showed up from the very first practice ready to go as the leader of this team,” said McCarley, whose team is off to 2-1-2 start. “But what’s even more important is that he gets it. He understands as a leader and as our starting forward he has to be ready to make big, individual plays at any moment. But 95 percent of the time it’s going to be part of a collective, team effort.”That team effort has been even more important with Carriker out the last three games (Marvin Ridge, South Meck and North Meck) with a sprained ankle. Teammates like senior Joe Trenning, junior Demetri Kaloudis, Ali Osman and Solopino Bridges, are also stepping up into bigger roles.Carriker, who was slated to return Sept. 9 against Rocky River, is eager to get back in the lineup as the Mustangs vie for win a seventh straight SW4A title. McCarley says getting Carriker back is big, not just because of his ability on the field, but also because of “his toughness,” that sets a tone for the rest of his team.“I like a lot of things about Kipp’s game, but I love his toughness,” McCarley said. “You’re not going to see him flopping, dancing around with the ball or diving. He’s just going to go hard all the time. I think that toughness, that enthusiasm spreads through the rest of the team.”While Myers Park has established itself as an annual 4A state contender, McCarley says the key to each of his teams is “that they know they are not entitled to anything and that they all know they have to prove themselves each year.”Carriker says getting back to the state championship is a daily process. He does not plan to play in college so he doesn’t want to waste a moment of this season.“To play at the level we expect to play at, you have to take it day by day,” Carriker said. “We have to come out and give our best effort in every training session, every game, everything we do. That’s just the way it is at Myers Park.” This story went to print before Myers Park vs. Rocky River game Sept. 9th.
Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2013
Senior Kipp Carriker latest in line of talented Myers Park forwards
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at email@example.com.
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