In general, as in other sports, the talent level and skill set have risen over the last two decades in high school boys soccer.
That being said, there is no question that much of the premier talent on our Boys Soccer All-21st Century Team came at the turn of the 21st century, highlighted by our unanimous MVP, Brooks star Charlie Davis of Salem, N.H.
There will likely never be another area soccer star comparable to Davies. A two-time Eagle-Tribune MVP and Golden Boot (most goals in the area) winner, with 73 goals in two years, Davies was All-New England twice and an All-American, leading the Green and White to an unbeaten ISL title as a senior.
There was plenty of hype surrounding Davies in high school, and he certainly lived up to it in college and beyond.
After a standout career at Boston College, Davies was a pivotal member of the U.S. national team and spent 11 productive years as a professional, playing for several teams in Europe before switching to the MLS, where he played for D.C. United, the New England Revolution and the Philadelphia Union.
The brilliance of Davies should not overshadow the accomplishments of several other stars from the century’s first decade, including Andover midfielder Tim Bengston and forwards Jon Wentworth of North Andover and T.J. Thompson of Phillips Academy and Atkinson, N.H. Both Wentworth and Thompson were unanimous All-New England and Thompson was an All-American.
This is not to say that the players in the second decade of our All-21st Century boys soccer team were much less talented. They just had a tough act to follow.
Of note is that, on our 20-member team, seven players are from soccer hot bed North Andover, including six from North Andover High School.
Charlie Davies, Brooks (2004), forward — Two-time Eagle-Tribune MVP and two-time Golden Boot winner, scoring 36 and 37 goals his last two years, 101 for his career. All-New England and All-American. Enjoyed great career at Boston College, for the U.S National team and as a pro.
Dan Simone, Sanborn (2004), goalie — Superb goalie had 30 career shutouts, 1.00 goals-against average. Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star, three-time All-New Hampshire. All-New England first team. As senior, had three shutouts in playoffs leading Sanborn to Class M state title. Also played for state champion Seacoast United.
Tim Bengston, Andover (2004), midfield — Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star and twice All-MVC first team. Known for his uncanny vision and terrific passing. Led Warriors from midfield with 14 goals and 17 assists.
Jon Wentworth, North Andover (2005), forward — Eagle-Tribune MVP and All-New England. Led area with 36 goals as senior, scored 20 as junior. All-Scholastic Division 2 Player of the Year and Cape Ann League MVP.
T.J. Thompson, Phillips Academy (2006), forward — Eagle-Tribune MVP, scored 15 goals with 10 assists in 14 games. All-Scholastic Prep Player of Year, earned All-American status. Played at Brown.
Kenny Kolbeck, Pinkerton (2008), defense — First team All-Class L for three straight years. Eagle-Tribune MVP as senior. New Hampshire MVP. State’s only player on National Soccer Coaches Association All-American team. Four-year starter never got a yellow card.
Charlie Roche, Haverhill (2009), defense — Three-time All-MVC and three-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Nearly impossible to get around. Scored five goals as senior. Played at UNH. Currently the Hillies’ head coach.
Gareth Dudney, North Andover (2010), midfield — Cape Ann League Player of Year and Eastern Mass. Division 2 Player of the Year. Eagle-Tribune MVP. Scored 19 goals with 10 assists, finished career with 46 goals.
Zach Wheeler, Pinkerton, (2009), defense — All-Class L and All-New England. Powerful shot gave him nine goals as defender. Scored game-winner in 2008 state title game on corner kick. Led Astros to three straight Class L Final Fours.
Andres Burbank-Crump, Brooks, (2011), defense — All-Scholastic and two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. “He’s the best or second best defender I’ve had in 33 years,” said coach Dusty Richard. Had four goals and six assists as senior. Played at Williams.
Peter Siragusa, Pinkerton, (2012), goalie — All-Division 1, Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Recorded nine shutouts as senior, 18 for career. Had 35-5-2 career record. “He was the toughest keeper in New Hampshire,” said coach Kerry Boles.
Mike Skarbelis, North Andover (2014), forward — Powerful and accurate shot. Led Knights to 21-1 season including 18-0 in regular season. Eagle-Tribune MVP. Scored whopping 41 goals and added 11 assists. “Without question, the best goal scorer North Andover has ever had,” said coach Kyle Wood.
Jeff Warden, North Andover (2014), defense — All-MVC standout and Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Led air tight defense that allowed just 23 goals in 22 games. Terrific passer, known for his smart play.
Kyle Hicks, Pinkerton, (2015), midfield — All-Division 1 and Eagle-Tribune MVP. Only New Hampshire player on Soccer Coaches Association All-American team. Scored 12 goals and added five assists. Enormous in playoffs, leading Astros as No. 7 seed to Division 1 title.
Paul DeMaio, North Andover (2016), goalie — MVC Goalie of the Year and Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Quarterback of the team from goal line. Had 12 shutouts and 0.55 GAA. Had eight terrific saves in 2-0 upset shutout of Masconomet.
Jon Ferri, Windham (2016), defense — Fast, strong and athletic, led team to two Division 2 state titles. Captained defense as senior to 13 shutouts, allowing only six goals. Eagle-Tribune All-Star and All-New Hampshire. Also a Division 2 state wrestling champion.
Connor Ross, Timberlane (2017), midfield — Could play anywhere on field. Eagle-Tribune MVP. Unselfish player scored 9 goals with 11 assists. All-Division 1 two straight years. “He’s a Jack of all Trades and an electric presence who makes things happen,” said coach Mitch Mencis.
Kyle Cocciardi, Windham (2018), forward — Two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star, MVP in 2017. Despite being heavily marked by opposing teams, had area-high 21 goals to lead Jaguars to state finals.
Ryan McDonald, North Andover (2019), defense — Key to North Andover defense that posted a stunning 16 shutouts and allowed only four goals all year. Scored 10 goals as center back. MVC most valuable player and Eagle-Tribune MVP.
John McCarthy, Central Catholic (2020), midfield — Underrated player helped propel Raiders to some of their best seasons of the century. Two-time All-MVC and two-time Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Scored 11 goals and had five assists for defense-focused team. “John is one of the best all-around players I’ve coached,” said coach Mike Bolduc.