It's been an interesting few years for Jax Goyette.
The soccer standout, who moved to Davidson with his parents, Paul and Dione, from his native Toronto three years ago, started his high school athletic career by struggling to find playing time in the North Mecklenburg junior varsity program.
But this year, after transferring to Davidson Day, the junior midfielder has become an all-Conference performer for the almost brand-new Patriots team.
"I guess I'm coming out of my shell, if you want to call it that," said Goyette, who scored 12 goals this season. "At North Meck, it was hard just to get playing time, and now I'm captain of the team and taking a leadership role."
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Davidson Day, in only its third season of soccer competition, made it to the school's first-ever state playoff appearance. The Patriots defeated Wayne Christian School 3-2 in the first round at home before falling to No. 1 seed Ridgecroft School, 6-1, to finish the season 8-12.
The team's season was a lot more successful than it looks, as Davidson Day's had an 8-4 record against other NCISAA 1A schools. The Patriots finished second in the Southern Piedmont Athletic Association tournament, losing 2-0 in the finals to Gaston Day.
"We played an extremely tough schedule early in the season," said first-year coach Josh Wagner, who came to Davidson Day after several years as junior varsity coach and assistant at North Meck. "Our first six games were against 3A schools like Charlotte Country Day, Forsyth Country Day and Bishop McGuinness. You won't build your record with a schedule like that, but you can make yourself a better team."
Goyette played a major role in the team's improvement. He and his coach agree he has made himself a better player this season.
"I've improved more than I expected," said Goyette. "It's a definite change in the style of play - the flow, passing, vision on the field. I've had to learn to make the right passes at the right time, but I think I've taken some big strides."
One of the biggest was a five-goal performance, which accounted for all of the Patriots' goals in the 5-3 victory over Elon School, early in the season.
"It was awesome for me," said Goyette. "But it was even more important that the whole team felt after the game like, 'Yes, we can do this.' We hadn't felt so confident before, but I think we have the potential to beat some of the better teams now."
Wagner said he knew Goyette had it in him. "His potential is through the roof," said Wagner. "They didn't see it at North Meck, and Jax had to see it for himself.
"Whether it's a pass or a tackle, if you need a play made, he's there."
Goyette was named to the all-Conference team for his outstanding play and missed being the conference player of the year by only two votes. Goyette was also 17 players named to the NCISAA 1A all-state team.
A participant in the International Baccalaureate program and the honors program at North Meck, Goyette's also a standout in the classroom.
Wagner said Goyette's maturity and leadership impressed him.