Braden Teller wants you to know the big numbers he piled up this season for Neuse Christian Academy’s soccer team aren’t what matters to him.
But younger brother Bryce, who has put up some decent statistics as an eighth-grader for Neuse, does care.
“He loves to see the stats,” Braden Teller said of Bryce. “He says, ‘Wow, Braden, you’ve got 47 goals. That’s crazy.’ He’s telling all his friends on his club.”
Forty-nine goals, to go along with 19 assists, is pretty crazy for the 18 games that he played in. That puts Teller third in the state in goals and tied for 13th in assists.
He trails only Jasper Krueger of the Ridgecroft School in Ahoskie in scoring with 113 points. And that number puts Teller seventh in the nation this fall among those that enter their stats on MaxPreps.com, not that any of it really mattered to the junior striker.
The Lions fell 4-2 to Kerr-Vance Academy in Friday’s second round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1A playoffs on the campus of Greenfield School in Wilson.
“I’m not really concerned about that,” Teller said. “I’m just worried about our team winning, our team getting better, getting other players involved. That was my only goal this year: To win states.”
Teller had all five goals for Neuse Christian (13-6-1) against Kerr-Vance this year, which includes a 3-1 win in the regular season. But that’s not an original story for him this season.
Teller had seven goals in a 7-2 win over Durham’s Liberty Christian – all in the first half before Liberty triple-teamed him in the second.
One of those goals was a thing of beauty, Neuse coach Holden Coghill said.
“He was a midfield near the sideline, and he just thumped it,” Coghill said. “I can honestly say it wasn’t a goalie error. It was coming with some velocity from 45, 50 yards at an angle. Their coach came over and said, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.’”
Coghill recalls several goals like that one, including one from near midfield after a kickoff against St. Thomas More, where Teller blasted the ball over the head of the keeper who was positioned around the 18-yard line and couldn’t stop the shot.
“The guy scores diverse goals,” Coghill said. “He scores free kicks; he bombs in on corner kicks and heads them in; he scores left foot, right foot; penalties. He has not only scored goals in volume, but some of them have been really easy on the eyes.”
But what’s most impressive to Coghill isn’t Teller’s pure skill – of which there is plenty. It’s Teller’s work ethic, which Coghill first noticed in 2014 when he took over as Neuse’s coach in the playoffs.
“We don’t normally practice on Wednesdays; we leave that open as a Christian school for kids to go to church,” Coghill said. “He contacted me (this Wednesday): ‘Let’s go to our practice field and kick the ball around and get some touches.’ He’s different. He’s definitely a cut above. He works on his game when no one’s looking.”
Teller would likely have more goals and assists, as he’s missed four games with an MCL sprain. He was cleared to play for Friday’s game.