2012-13 Boys soccer player of the year: Clay Curvin, Gulf Coast

Gulf Coast High School senior Clay Curvin poses for a portrait on the stadium steps at Gulf Coast High School on Thursday March 14, 2013. Clayton scored 30 goals this season and helped lead his team to their first state championship. He is the 2012-13 boys soccer player of the year. (William DeShazer/Staff)

Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

Gulf Coast High School senior Clay Curvin poses for a portrait on the stadium steps at Gulf Coast High School on Thursday March 14, 2013. Clayton scored 30 goals this season and helped lead his team to their first state championship. He is the 2012-13 boys soccer player of the year. (William DeShazer/Staff)

Clay Curvin was one of the area’s leading goal scorers for a soccer team that became the first in Collier County to win a state championship.

Yet the humble senior can’t take credit for Gulf Coast’s success, or even his own. Curvin says he was the beneficiary of the Sharks’ tremendous overall talent, evidenced by their Class 4A title.

“This year I was able to score the most goals for my team, but it was a team effort,” Curvin said. “I was able to get good passes from everyone working together. That allowed me to put most of my shots in the back of the net.”

While Gulf Coast had plenty of options, Curvin’s 30 goals led them to a state title and earned him Daily News Boys Soccer Player of the Year honors.

Curvin developed into a go-to goal scorer in his senior year. He led the Sharks with 10 goals as a junior, his first season after transferring from Naples, but tripled that output this past season.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound forward was accompanied by midfielders Sylvester Szczesniewicz and Vincent Desiano, who each scored 12 goals. Erick Santiago (six goals) also helped draw the defense, opening up holes for Curvin.

“Those players helped alleviate the pressure,” Sharks coach Alan Scott said. “The defense couldn’t focus all its attention on Clay. He was able to slip in, and he doesn’t miss very many opportunities.”

Curvin shined bright in the biggest moments. He scored five goals in the state playoffs, including one in Gulf Coast’s 2-0 victory over Lutz-Steinbrenner in the 4A championship game. Curvin tallied three goals in a regional quarterfinal win over Bradenton-Lakewood Ranch.

Speed helped Curvin separate from defenders, but the Sharks’ star said he couldn’t have scored at all without his teammates’ sharp passing skills.

“It wasn’t me beating a bunch of guys,” Curvin said. “It was getting the passes to get the shots. It was someone else making runs to get open, or making runs to get me open. It’s hard to guard all of us at once.”

After his best season, Curvin won’t continue his career in college. He is attending the University of Florida to study finance.

While he stays humble on the field, Curvin also stays loose. His coach said both qualities made his teammates love him.

“Clay never took anything too seriously,” Scott said. “He kept the team loose even though he knew much of the pressure to score and deliver was on him. He never let that get to him.”

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features