Soccer player

IJ Men’s Football Player of the Year: Archie Williams’ Owen Benson

Owen Benson

Archie Williams boys football, senior

When Owen Benson was a sophomore, his stated goal was to score 20 goals that season. He scored a goal. When Benson was a junior, he hit half that total, scoring 10 in a shortened pandemic season.

The objective remained the same this year. Benson scored 19 goals during the regular season, then scored the goal he had been waiting for two years in the first playoff game for Archie Williams’ North Shore section.

“It wasn’t a special goal for anyone else, but it was special for me,” Benson said.

Benson was just getting started. The striker pushed his total for the season to 29 goals, leading the Peregrine Falcons to the Premier League championship and the first appearance in the NorCal title game in program history.

Benson, who was previously named MCAL Men’s Soccer Player of the Year, is Marin IJ’s choice for Player of the Year, beating a tough field that included San Rafael’s Juan Bonilla, Tam’s Schuyler Hoeberichts and Ethan Carr of the Marin Academy.

“Owen has this confidence, this skill and this mentality that he’s going to finish,” said Archie Williams’ coach Rene Ayala. “That’s what the big guys have. They can slow it down in their head and they just have this ultimate confidence in themselves. This confidence did not come out of nowhere. It’s the result of years of hard work and commitment to being the best player possible.

Benson has scored six hat tricks this season, including a pair in the playoffs. Benson saved his best games for the biggest moments, scoring a late equalizer while going up against a man against Richmond in the NorCal quarter-finals to keep Archie Williams’ season alive.

A semi-final hat trick against Montgomery followed, then Benson scored another goal in the NorCal title match – an eventual 3-2 loss to Marin Academy.

Although Benson’s preparatory football career is over, he intends to continue playing for a long time. Benson receives serious looks from West Coast Conference Division I schools and aspires to play professionally.

“I want to go beyond college and play professionally, so I’m going to do whatever I can to get there,” Benson said.