By HockomockSports.com Staff
Player are listed alphabetically
Donovan Carter, Senior & Justin Silva, Senior – North Attleboro
We cheated a little bit by picking two players for one spot, but it’s hard not to put North Attleboro’s centerback pairing together. Starting alongside one another for the second straight year, seniors Donovan Carter and Justin Silva will anchor one of the stingiest defenses in the area. In front of new keeper David Floyd, Carter and Silva will be tough to break down. A lot of that comes from positioning and Carter and Silva are the ones that organize North Attleboro’s defensive four plus the help defense in front. One challenge that both Carter and Silva — and all defenders — face this year is defending without heading. The Rocketeers do a great job of taking away passing lanes so teams have tried thumping it forward or dumping the ball into the area off set pieces and Carter and Silva have done a nice job winning balls in the air. Now the game is changed a bit but we still think the Rocketeers have one of the best centerback duos in the Hock.
Leo Coelho, Senior – Milford
The word versatility gets thrown around a lot when describing Leo Coelho, and it’s certainly one of the most accurate. But another word that goes hand and hand with Milford’s senior captain is skill. Last season we saw Coelho play in a variety of roles, sliding to outside back to neutralize North Attleboro’s speedy counter-attack, or even as another center back when the Hawks were holding a lead. And when the Hawks needed a jolt on offense, Coelho was quick to deliver. He showed how quickly he can change a game as he scored the game-winning goal in the playoffs against Feehan just minutes after making the switch to up top. Coelho is at the top of his game when he’s got the ball at his feet, especially going forward. He does well to keep possession and is a calming presence with the ball but he can really cause trouble for defenses when he goes at defenders. Whether it’s finding a teammate making a run or take a shot himself, it’s hard for defenses to stop him.
Joao Pedro Da Silva, Senior – Milford
The Hawks bring back a bunch of weapons from last year’s squad that won the Davenport division, went undefeated in the regular season, upset Nauset in the sectional final, and reached the D2 State Final. One of the most important pieces from that run was midfielder Joao Pedro Da Silva. The senior was very strong during the regular season but took his game to a whole new level in the postseason. He was a rock in the middle of the pitch, winning balls in the air while also standing tall in winning 50/50 challenges. And when he got forward, he had a knack for finding the back of the net when Milford needed it most. He found the back of the net six times during the regular season and then went on to score five more in the state tournament.
Brady deVos, Senior – Oliver Ames
Oliver Ames entered last season loaded with talent in the attacking third but needed someone to anchor its defensive unit. After coming off the bench into the midfield as a sophomore, deVos made the switch to centerback and emerged as one of the best defenders in the league. Now with a year of experience under his belt, he will be called upon to lead a relatively inexperienced back four. The Tigers graduated all three of the defenders deVos played with last year so head coach John Barata will rely on him to anchor that group. Not only is he strong in the air, he’s a very smart player. Whether it’s reading a play or playing with the ball at his feet, you know he’s going to make a good decision.
Evan Eames, Senior – Mansfield
There’s a common theme among a handful of players on this list and that’s their ability to play at a variety of positions and do so at a high level. Eames is another one that fits that bill, an option anywhere in the center of the pitch. When you look back at last season when the Hornets finished on an eight-game unbeaten streak, one big reason was a much-improved defense. Eames will be the centerpiece of that unit this year after earning All-Hockomock honors in 2019. He’s confident with the ball at his feet and his decision-making instills confidence in others. As the Hornets look to build out of the back this season, Eames will be a big part of that.
Evan McEvoy, Senior – King Philip
The Warriors were the surprise team of the 2019 season, emerging as one of the toughest teams to beat and earning a spot in the playoffs. One main reason for that was the emergence of Evan McEvoy, who has been with the varsity squad since his freshman year. Each year, we’ve seen McEvoy take a step forward and last year it was a huge leap. He looked right at home with the ball at his feet, a maestro in the middle of the pitch directing how the Warriors would possess and eventually attack. KP has a strong group of returners so McEvoy should have some space to work with as he looks to distribute to teammates (six assists last season).
Colin Milliken, Senior – Oliver Ames
We’ve seen the progression that OA senior Colin Milliken has made over each of the past two seasons, and we have to think the best is yet to come in 2020. The Tigers are loaded and means more space for Milliken and more weapons at his disposal. The most dangerous thing about him is his ability to not only set up teammates with pinpoint passes, but he can also take defenders on one-on-one and develop an individual scoring chance when it doesn’t look like there is much there. With shoulder-to-shoulder challenges banned for the season, the modifications certainly favor a player like Milliken who likes the ball at his feet and does a good job of keeping defenders off-balance. And if teams try and put extra attention on him defensively, he has no problem finding an open teammate.
Esvin Morales, Sophomore – Attleboro
The Hockomock League is filled with talent year-in and year-out so it’s not easy to make a list like this when you’re not a senior, or even a junior. But Attleboro sophomore Esvin Morales burst onto the scene last year as a freshman but he looked far from a rookie for the Bombardiers. He fit right in and emerged as one of the most talented midfielders in the league. Now this season, Attleboro and head coach Peter Pereira are hoping Morales will provide a spark in the attacking this. Morales showed his finishing touch off last season with seven goals and three assists.
Bryce Nathan, Senior – Sharon
There are certain types of players that any coach would want to have on their team, regardless of system or gameplan. And Sharon senior Bryce Nathan is that type of player. A “swiss-army knife” type of player; one who can all over the pitch and will give 100% no matter the situation; the type of effort that will carry over to his teammates. His effort is one of the qualities that make him a great leader for the Eagles this season. A seasoned veteran at the varsity level, Nathan will lead by example both on and off the field. Sharon could be a darkhorse in the Davenport this season and Nathan is a big reason why.
Terry O’Neill, Junior – Franklin
Last year’s HockomockSports.com Underclassman of the Year, Franklin junior Terry O’Neill is such a steady presence on the pitch for the Panthers. Even in a fast-paced game or against teams that like to press, O’Neill showed his confidence on the ball last season and his ability to keep possession is crucial when handling that pressure. The new modifications have taken away one of O’Neill’s strongest attributes: winning challenges in the air. But the junior is far from just a ball-winner in the midfield. When the Panthers are looking to transition from defense to offense, O’Neill is the piece that connects the two ends of the field.