Drew Parsons’ season nearly ended before it began.

The Mt. Blue senior severely sprained his left ankle at a camp his father, Chris, the men’s soccer coach at Thomas College, was running on campus.

The injury sidelined Parsons for five weeks, which meant he had to miss all of preseason. His first game was the Cougars’ season-opener at Oxford Hills.

The Cougars won the game, 1-0. Though clearly still not at 100 percent, Parsons picked up an assist on the game’s lone goal “by creating something out of nothing,” Mt. Blue coach Joel Smith said.

The goal was a typical example of Parsons’ impact on the game and the amount of respect opponents showed him this year. That respect carried over into awards season, when Parsons was the only player to receive a vote from every coach in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference when they voted on the conference’s player of the year, and spread to college soccer, where coaches from all divisions recruited him.

The lone holdover from a high-powered offense in 2013, he shook off the frustration of a rebuilding season and became one of the best two-way players in the state in 2014. For this, Parsons is the Morning Sentinel Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Parsons started the season at forward, a spot he’d been so productive at as an all-conference and all-state player his junior year. But with opposing defenses drawing up special coverages to neutralize him, and with his ability to play effectively all over the field, Smith decided during the season to move him to the midfield.

“Drew made us better just because he was able to draw so much attention and created so much time and space for others,” Smith said. “Offensively and defensively, he’s a very technically skilled player. When we moved him to midfield, it was pretty glaring to the coaching staff when he was in the game and when he wasn’t.”

Parsons submitted an impressively balanced scoring sheet this year with nine goals and nine assists. But Smith can’t help but wonder what that might have looked like if he started the season at full speed.

“Even as great as he played this year, the injury going in kind of set him back a little bit,” Smith said.

Parsons admitted he didn’t feel like himself until about halfway through the season. Even then, keeping on his feet was a challenge with the way defenders routinely tried to jostle him around.

“High school soccer is super physical, and just being able to run fast and play physical was so hard,” Parsons said. “Even without the ankle injury, I still was getting knocked around a lot.”

It might have been less painful if the abuse translated into more wins, but those were too infrequent in a 6-9-1 season. Parsons recognized soon enough that the Cougars were building for the future and accepted his role in that project with enthusiasm.

“Our team had a lot of younger players who got so much better. I saw so much growth,” he said. “It made so much sense for the good of the team and the future to set them up. You just have to sit down and look at it and understand the reason you play is to have fun. We’re young and the team is developing. I had a lot of fun with these guys.”

“For being so gifted he’s a humble, humble kid,” Smith said.

Parsons and the seniors did have one last hurrah, a 2-0 Eastern A preliminary round win over Oxford Hills. And again, it was Parsons in the middle of the action.

“He took over,” Smith said, “and we were allowed to just be in control the entire game because he was able to create.”

Recruited by Division III Bates College, 2013 NCAA Division II national champion Southern New Hampshire University as well as Division I University of New Hampshire, Parsons has applied early decision to Bates.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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