Boys Soccer Player of the Year: Crown Point’s Carmelo Morales
By Tom Wyatt Post-Tribune correspondent December 12, 2012 11:00PM
Junior forward Carmelo Morales, photographed in Crown Point, Ind. Friday November 30, 2012, is the Post-Tribune Boys Soccer Player of the Year. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2013 7:27AM
Carmelo Morales never quite had that monster game — the one where he scored three, four or even five goals. Instead, the Crown Point junior had a monster season.
In a breakout year, Morales, the 2012 Post-Tribune Boys Soccer Player of the Year, scored 20 goals but never scored more than two in a game. He was an equal-opportunity goal-scorer, scoring night after night for Crown Point, no matter the competition.
“That speaks to how consistent he was and how solid he was all season,” Bulldogs coach Mike Bazin said. “In a culture where you need to put up those numbers to get recognized, a lot of people will take advantage of weaker teams and put up a bunch of goals to get the stats. Carmelo didn’t do that. That speaks to his character more than his abilities.”
After helping Crown Point to a state championship in 2011, Morales entered the offseason intent on making himself a dominant player. His primary focus was his speed.
“I got faster and stronger, and that really helped me a lot to become more of a threat offensively,” Morales said. “I felt like I had to be more of a team leader than I was before. But a lot of other people stepped up, too, so it took the pressure off.”
Not only was Morales consistent — posting a goal or an assist in every game in which Crown Point scored — he was clutch. He came up big in a win over Munster and scored the Bulldogs’ lone two goals in a key Duneland Conference victory over Valparaiso, a win that ultimately allowed the Bulldogs to share the DAC crown with the Vikings.
“I felt like I needed to step up in bigger games,” Morales said. “I think I’ve always been that way. The team counted on me for that.”
And while Morales was the team’s top scoring threat, he was unselfish in his play. He has a knack for holding the ball, warding off defenders, and allowing his teammates to enter the play. And then he strikes. He assisted on eight goals this season.
“You know what? There isn’t anything soccer-wise that you can really knock him on,” Bazin said. “He’s just a phenomenal player. He loves the game and works hard at it. He’s a great kid off the field, too.”
Morales plans to take a similar approach this offseason, with the goal of continual improvement. But after his team finished 14-2-3 in season that included a sectional title but was cut short by Lake Central in the regional semifinals, Morales wants his senior season to include another trip to the state final.
“I definitely want to get better individually, but I’d rather the team go far than for me to score however many goals,” Morales said. “I just want us to get back to state and win a state title. That’s my main goal.”