Connor Lynch carried the weight of expectation and history, and had no problem putting his team on his back.
Lynch, who led the Santiago boys’ soccer team to a perfect Big VIII League campaign and appearances in CIF South Section and CIF State matches, was chosen as the player. Football of the Year for Indoor Boys.
“The guy just puts the ball in the back of the net,” Santiago coach Henry Sierra said. “For everything else he’s done – and he’s done a lot for this program – he’s been the tip of the spear for our offense and he’s one of the best at what he does.”
The 6ft 3in striker tallied 19 goals and nine assists in 19 games as the Sharks went 10-0-0 to win the Big VIII League before playing in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 Championship game for the second consecutive year. .
“I’m very proud of my friends and what we’ve accomplished,” Lynch said. “Obviously you always want to win and it (stinks) of having been in all the finals this year and not taking anything back, especially at the end of my last year. But when you think about it and look at the big picture, I’m very proud .
A special connection with Cristian Prieto has given Lynch new life and new opportunities this season, as the Sharks have scored 64 goals in all competitions.
“We had the big-little thing where I was holding the ball and (Prieto) was pretty quick to find the gaps and expose the defense, and I think that worked really well,” Lynch said. “I would go against any defender with him.”
Headed to Westmont College in Santa Barbara on a full scholarship, Lynch sees his next opportunity much like he considered his chances when he entered campus as a freshman in Santiago.
“I still have the same mindset where I want to show older guys that I can play,” Lynch said. “I expect to start straight away. I want to give the older guys a hard time.