Hockomock Boys Soccer Players to Watch
By HockomockSports.com Staff
Player are listed alphabetically
Dylan Barreira, Senior – Foxboro
Foxboro senior striker Dylan Barreira had a breakout campaign a season ago, pouring in 22 goals in the regular season to tie for the league lead. Just one of three players to have over 20 points last season, Barreira is the lone returner of that group and is poised to have a big final season for the Warriors. Barreira is a pure striker and exactly the type of player you want in or around the ball inside the area. He’s creative with the ball on his feet but it’s his finishing ability that really sets him apart from others. If you give him any space around the 18, Barreira isn’t shy about having a go and can finish from distance. Opposing defenses will have to pay extra attention to him which will free up teammates.
Jordan Borges, Senior – Milford
Milford has a good amount of talent back to try and defend its Davenport division title, and three-year starter Jordan Borges will be a main piece in the heart of the Hawks’ lineup. A four-year varsity player, Borges will be looking to cap his high school career with a second consecutive division crown. He will be tasked with pulling the strings in center midfield. He showed last year the ability to link the defense with the offense as the Hawks dominated possession in most games. With Milford looking to rebuild its defense, the Hawks will look to Borges to help smooth the transition and solidify the middle. And we’ve seen it before, and it’s already happened this preseason: Borges is lethal from distance. If defenses decide to sit back and give him space, he has no problem putting one on target from distance.
Kyle Briere, Senior – North Attleboro
North Attleboro senior Kyle Briere took over the starting position last season and emerged as one of the best keepers in the region, earning a HockomockSports.com Best XI selection. He was the anchor of the best defensive group in the Hockomock League, allowing just nine goals all regular season. He posted 12 shutouts last year, a big reason why North Attleboro was one of the toughest teams to score against. If teams were able to break the North defense down, Briere would often come up with big save after big save. He’s very strong in the air and takes away crosses and services into the box that other league teams are often so good at. With a year of varsity experience under his belt, Briere is poised for another big season and should certainly help the Rocketeers contend for a league title.
Leo Coelho, Junior – Milford
Milford junior Leo Coelho is one of the most versatile players in the league and that affords head coach Brian Edwards a lot of flexibility in the lineup. One of the most talented players on the ball, Coelho played all over the field last season to help the Hawks win their first Davenport title. That will likely be the case again this year as Edwards can slot Coelho wherever he needs him most. He can really control the game from the center midfield spot and he’s shown the ability to play a defensive role. But maybe the best fit for Coelho is in an attacking role on the wing as he possesses terrific skill with the ball on his foot, the ability to set teammates up, and can finish with the best of them. With more size and a year under his belt, look for Coelho to really emerge as one of the most dynamic players in the Hock.
Joe Cusack, Senior – Foxboro
There are a lot of terms and phrases that can describe how Foxboro senior Joe Cusack plays, but the one that really fits best is field general. Cusack has been a crucial player for the Warriors in the center midfield and is usually the catalyst for when they get forward. His ability to read the play and set teammates up has helped Foxboro be one of the most dangerous offensive teams the past two seasons (57 goals last season). On top of his offensive abilities, Cusack is terrific defensively. He has no problem matching up with players bigger than he is, and more often than not, comes away with the ball. He’s very calm on the ball and doesn’t force a lot of passes, helping Foxboro keep possession. The Davenport division is very talented this year and if the Warriors are in the mix at the end, Cusack will likely be a big reason for that.
Colin Milliken, Senior – Oliver Ames
Oliver Ames graduated a lot of talent following the 2017 season so head coach John Barata was in need of new players to step up last year. Colin Milliken became one of the most reliable options for the Tigers, patrolling the center midfield. His strong sophomore season earned him HockomockSports Underclassman of the Year last year. He’s a very confident player and very strong with the ball at his feet. Not only can he find teammates with nice through passes or balls over the top, but he can also go at defenders one-on-one and beat them. He showed off a strong shot last year and will be a dangerous option on set pieces for the Tigers again this season. He scored a team-high eight goals last year and finished the regular season with seven assists and will be on of OA’s top threats again this year.
Alec Nunes, Senior – Taunton
Taunton is looking to take the next step this season and make a push for the state tournament, and one reason the Tigers could make it is senior Alec Nunes. Nunes is a creative player that is very confident with the ball at his feet. Whether it’s taking a defender one-on-one or looking to spring a teammate free with a pass, Nunes is one of the top players in the league. Last season, Nunes showed flashes of his finishing ability inside the area, scoring three goals. He was also very strong in setting teammates up, recording six assists. If a teammate is making a run in behind the defense, Nunes has the vision to either put a ball over the top or find a gap to play a through ball.
Anthony Salisbury, Senior – Mansfield
Mansfield has had one of the toughest defenses to score against over the past couple of seasons, and that was true again last year. One big reason for that was the stellar play of goalie Anthony Salisbury. With help from the defenders in front of him, Salisbury tied the program record for individual shutouts and combined with teammate Cam Bovey to tie the program for shutouts in a season with 11. Salisbury came up with some highlight-reel saves throughout the year and dominated the area. His ability to come off the line and take away corners, free kicks, and services in the run of play made it very difficult to create any real chances in the area. Bovey is also a strong keeper and the competition between the two helps bring out the best on the pitch for the Hornets’ goalies.
Isaiah Stessman, Senior – Sharon
When it comes to versatility, Sharon senior Isaiah Stessman is right at the top of the list for players in the Hockomock League. We saw last year that he can play basically anywhere on the pitch and make a big impact. He spent time at sweeper last season and anchored the Eagles’ back line. With him as the last line of defense, teams were unable to get in behind because of his speed. When he’s on the wing, he can get up and down the sidelines and cause problems for opponents. And when he’s up top, he can really cause havoc against defenses. He has a good touch and can go at defenders one-on-one. When he’s around the area, he can finish with the best of them and that makes him an incredible weapon for the Eagles. Depending on what they need, Stessman can provide Sharon with skill at any spot.
Sam Stowell, Senior – Franklin
Franklin was one of the best teams down the stretch last season, making a late push in the league title picture and securing a spot in the state tournament. The Panthers were 7-1-1 in their final nine regular season games and allowed just five goals in that span. One big reason for their success was the strong defense and Sam Stowell was the leader of that defensive unit. One of the most experienced players in the league (2019 HockomockSports Best XI selection), Stowell will once again be the anchor of the Panthers’ back line. Stowell has a terrific soccer IQ and that’s obvious with his play on the pitch. He reads the play very well and keeps the back group organized, making it difficult to break Franklin down, especially in the run of play. Set pieces and restarts are a big part of the high school game and Stowell is an option offensively and does a nice job defending them as well.