How can a team be ranked in the top 10 in the nation, win the first state championship in program history, have a national coach of the year – but only one player named to the all-state team?
The answer is that this particular team was, as a whole, more than the sum of its parts.
Green Hope had a complete team in its boys’ soccer season run, which ended with a 25-1 overall record and 2-1 victory against Charlotte Myers Park in the 4A state championship game.
The Falcons seemingly had a specialist or two for every need, whether it was a left-footed bomber for corner kicks, a captain at center back, a standout holding midfielder and a bevy of fleet-footed forwards.
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Coach Andrew Chadwick was allowed to substitute freely, as there was little drop-off from the Falcons’ first team to their second; even the team manager scored a goal in a regular-season game..
The road to the championship, however, wasn’t easy for this group.
Down 3-0 at halftime to conference rival Fuquay-Varina – the only team to defeat the Falcons this year – it looked as though the Falcons would be exiting the playoffs in the fourth round. But Green Hope responded in a way that only an elite team can – with four second-half goals – to come away with a 4-3 victory.
The East final – the second in four years for some of the seniors – was, by comparison, much easier for Green Hope.
Its state championship game went into overtime, but the Falcons made sure to send Chadwick, who already had announced it was his last year, out with a victory, with a goal in the final 10-minute overtime period.