MALONE Malone senior Aaron Sharlow never expected to lead his boys soccer team to the Northern Athletic Conference Central Division championship this fall.
Thats not because Sharlow lacks confidence; he just thought he was going to be playing for the South Kent prep school in Connecticut.
Sharlow enrolled at the school and stayed about 10 days before having a change of heart and coming back home before the school year started.
I didnt really want to miss my senior year here, Sharlow said. I felt like if it was after high school, it would have been another matter.
One of the happiest people to see Sharlow show up for one of the first practices of the season was Malone coach Kim DePuy.
I felt sad for him, because I wanted him to go there and succeed, DePuy said. I thought it would be a great thing for him. But I think it made a big difference for us. He was a standard for the other kids.
All Sharlow did in his return was score 22 goals, add four assists, and tie for the regular-season lead in scoring in Section 10, in a Central Division known for defensive games.
He led the Huskies to a 13-4-1 overall record, a division championship with an 8-2-1 record, and a spot in the state Class A playoffs.
The kid can do amazing things with the ball, DePuy said. In all of my years of coaching, hes probably the player who had the most accurate shot. He didnt waste a lot when he shot. When he shot, I knew it was going in. He probably could have had 40 (goals), but he wasnt selfish. There were times when I asked him to shoot and not make that last pass. He was always concerned what other people would think of him. He didnt want people thinking he was all about scoring goals. He was about the whole team winning.
Scoring is nothing new to Sharlow. He said when he was five, he scored 73 goals in one AYSO season.
Im a pretty athletic kid, but Ive been playing soccer on four different club teams and I play it year round, Sharlow said. Ive always been the one where if we are losing, or tied, they expect me to score always. It kind of puts pressure on me, but I kind of like it.
One of the major reasons Sharlow went to prep school was his desire to play college soccer.
He plays for the FC Freeze, a youth travel team run by St. Lawrence University mens soccer coach Bob Durocher.
But its likely that Sharlow will be on the other side against Durocher in college as one of the schools hes strongly considering is SUNY Plattsburgh.
(The Freeze) definitely helped a lot, Sharlow said. You are playing with kids who help you play really well. Its the best of Section 10s kids on one team.
Said DePuy of Sharlows future, I think he has a lot of potential at the college level. When he is placed with a group of kids that are equally as skilled as he is, he is going to shine. This is a kid who has been playing with the Freeze for years. Hes used to playing on elite teams. I think hes going to continue to grow as a player and he has a lot of determination to get better.
This is the game that he loves and he wants to be good at it. He wants to be the best he can possibly be at it.
Sharlow said he is looking forward to college play where he may not be the go-to guy on a team, but rather someone who is contributing to the overall success.
Ill probably have to get more skillful, Sharlow said. Ill probably have to get a lot stronger and Ill pretty much work on all my game to get better. Ill be playing against better players. I think its easier if Im just one of those players (opponents) dont know much about.
Still, Sharlow will miss being the feature player on the field.
I like being the one they have to watch all the time, Sharlow said. But I hate it when teams have their whole game plan to stop me. It gets hard to score.