Clotaire Joseph has been the Immokalee High boys soccer team's stealth bomber –- quiet, unassuming, but a powerful marksman.
And when we say quiet, we mean quiet.
"Ever since I've known him, he's always been this way," Immokalee principal and assistant soccer coach Manny Toruon said. "Somebody went over to interview him at the (Southwest Florida) all-star game and I looked at (assistant coach Saintano) Damas and said 'Good luck getting more than three words out of him.'"
Joseph speaks softly, but carries a big leg, having a hand in 54 Immokalee goals this past season, a feat that earned him the honor of Naples Daily News Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Joseph's quiet public nature comes from being nervous speaking English in public, Touron said. But even on the soccer pitch, he tries to keep a low profile. Once Touron was handing out the captains' arm bands and gave one to Joseph, who then gave it to someone else.
But it was quite difficult for Joseph to remain in the background as soon as he touched the ball. Scoring 35 goals and dealing 19 assists will bring the spotlight swinging around, but Joseph has never been a me-first player.
"Clotaire is a very unselfish player," Touron said. "If the opportunity comes and he has ability to score, he'll do it. If another guy has a better opportunity, he'll give it up."
Joseph may not say much, but his legs sing. They allow him to dart around and past defenders and to drill shots past keepers. He helped guide the Indians to a 25-2 record and came within one penalty shot of reaching the state semifinals.
"He's very quick, very explosive and has a tremendous vision of the game," Touron said. "He'll thread the needle between two defenders to get the ball to a teammate. That's the anticipation that makes soccer player great."
His quietness, though, might have come with a price. Though he dazzles on the pitch, his silence might have allowed college coaches to look past him and focus on flashier players. He's set to attend Georgia Perimeter College, which won this season's junior college national title, but Touron still is trying to get Joseph to a four-year school, preferably one that keeps Joseph in his comfort zone.
Joseph might not have said much, but his ability, which spoke volumes, will sorely be missed.
"He's not a leader with his voice, but if we went into the game, and Clotaire was stuck on the sidelines, there would be a little bit of panic," Touron said. "I've volunteered my time for this team for 13 years, and he's the player I'll mostly miss for what he's done for this program."
- RELATED: Coach of the Year: Mike Hamburger (04-16-06)
- RELATED: Girls Basketball Player of the Year: Courtney Jacob (04-16-06)
- RELATED: Wrestlers of the Year: Lee Campbell and Richie Dehnz (04-16-06)
- RELATED: Boys Basketball Player of the Year: Joey Woods (04-16-06)
- RELATED: Girls Soccer Player of the Year: Tricia Townsend (04-16-06)
- RELATED: Boys Soccer Player of the Year: Clotaire Joseph (04-16-06)