Soccer player

All-Region Men’s Football Player of the Year: Hayden Fletcher of Monmouth

Lucas Bergeron, left, of Oak Hill High School and Hayden Fletcher of Monmouth Academy go head-to-head for the ball in a game in September at Monmouth. File photo by Daryn Slover / Sun Journal

Hayden Fletcher is a laid back footballer who, although he has scored a record 110 goals in his Monmouth Academy career, would be just as comfortable playing in midfield or defense as he is in before.

Fletcher’s laid back style epitomized the Mustangs this season. Ahead of a preseason game against Camden Hills, coach Joe Fletcher, Hayden’s father, asked the players to work hard during pre-game warm-ups to increase their heart rates, as he always does. Hayden and the players worked as hard as Joe would have liked, so Joe turned to his coaching staff to discuss the issue.

The staff suggested that Joe should “just let it go.” He did, and the Mustangs ended up playing what Joe Fletcher called a “really competitive game against a Class A powerhouse.”

“At this point, I started to relax a bit in my demand to work hard during the warm-up,” said Joe Fletcher. “I think it’s a reflection of Hayden. He sets an example, he is a child who works hard and the game is very easy for him. He’s pretty natural, especially when scoring goals.

Hayden Fletcher’s hard work, soccer IQ and goal scoring all contribute to the senior selection as the Sun Journal Men’s Soccer Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Joe Fletcher has said Hayden is in tune with his football senses.

“He told me about it, where the game seems to slow down for him, whereas a lot of other players, when they have a chance to score, they rush,” said Joe Fletcher. “I don’t think Hayden rushed, he let the game come to him. The game is really slowing down for him, which is good.

Joe Fletcher cites a winning goal from Hayden as an example of how clearly he sees the game.

“For example, when we played Hall-Dale in the playoffs, he had a one-on-one game with a defenseman playing him square, shoulder to shoulder, and Hayden realized that and pretended. left and pushed the ball to the right, then took a strong shot and scored the goal and won the game for us, ”said Joe Fletcher. “Not many high school kids can read a defense like this and understand what it is being given and enjoy.”

Lucas Bergeron, left, of Oak Hill High School and Hayden Fletcher of Monmouth Academy go head-to-head for the ball in a game in September at Monmouth. File photo by Daryn Slover / Sun Journal

Fletcher has been the catalyst for the Mustangs’ offense this season – he has scored 36 goals and assisted 12 others – but in their Class C South semi-final game with Mt. Abram, he started in the center back.

“I just think wherever I help the team the best, that’s what I would like to do,” said Hayden Fletcher. “I have no problem playing any position on the pitch; I will give my all and I hope it will be okay.

“I started in the middle of the pitch and I think I went into the midfield for about five minutes. That’s what our team needed that day and I wasn’t going to let our team down. have given everything. “

Being a “technically and tactically advanced player,” as Joe Fletcher calls him, allows Hayden to play anywhere on the pitch. Fletcher’s goal was an important part of Monmouth’s 11-2-2 record in 2021, but his play on the baseline in the 1-0 double-overtime loss to Mt. Abram was the best game ever. Hayden, according to his father.

“To be honest with you, he would rather be a center-back,” said Joe Fletcher. “He’s trying to figure out where he’s going to play in college next year, but he probably will, if he plays football he will most likely be back. He did what we needed from him for our program. He’s a gifted goalscorer and he finished with 110, which is remarkable.

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