For most Section VI high school boys programs, the soccer season is barely in the rear-view mirror. The reality that their grade-school careers are over has begun to sink in, but for those interested in continuing to play in college, the next step starts immediately.
Seniors across Western New York have been selected through a tryout process to play in the Exceptional Seniors match, slated for 10 a.m. Nov. 6 in Sahlen's Sports Park (7070 Seneca St., Elma). Local college coaches flock to the match, organized by chairman Tim Kronenwetter, as a natural place to recruit local talent and continue building their recruiting classes for 2017.
Here are the rosters for the Exceptional Seniors match, with jersey numbers, high schools and additional information (all stats from SectionalSports.com):
[Note: Players for Clarence, Grand Island, International Prep, Allegany-Limestone and Pine Valley, and perhaps others, could not try out because their programs are still competing]
Coaches: Scott Maclean, an assistant at Hilbert College; Mike Schermerhorn, East Aurora JV, Soccer Home; and Mike Ertel, head men's coach at Villa Maria, Empire United head coach.
GK Mike D'Amato - Starting goalkeeper at Orchard Park for two years, spent three seasons with the Olympic Development Program and also suits up for Buffalo Soccer Academy. Kept 15 clean sheets in his high school career, led Quakers to the Class AA semifinals as a senior. Will attend Daemen College.
GK Tim Calkins - Four-year starter for Niagara Wheatfield, as well as an early stint with Buffalo Soccer Academy before moving to Empire United for his last three years of club soccer. An All-Niagara Frontier League pick over the last three years, Calkins posted a whopping 32 clean sheets over his high school career.
No. 2 Noah Keem - Sweet Home striker led all of Section VI boys in scoring as a senior, producing 37 goals and 14 assists. Keem, whose older brother Joey plays at Daemen College, played club soccer with Empire United, as well as ODP since 2011. Blessed with blistering pace and clinical finishing, he's been a part of three State Cup-winning sides.
No. 3 Tyler Curry - Lancaster Legends forward struck for nine goals and four assists in his senior campaign, which ended with a loss to Clarence in the Class AA finals. Like Keem, Curry has played with Empire United and ODP.
No. 4 Jackson Retzer - A key member of the Williamsville North team that advanced to the Far West Regionals in 2015, Retzer wore the No. 10-shirt for his senior season, posting six goals and nine assists. He's been with Buffalo Soccer Academy for four years.
No. 5 Nate Nuwer - A four-year starter for Alden, Nuwer was perfectly balanced in his midfield role, notching 13 goals and 13 assists over his senior season. He's a product of the FC Buffalo Academy, which was formerly the Lockport club team. All-Western New York small school selection in 2015.
No. 6 Colin Witman - The St. Francis forward has played for Empire, ODP and Global Premier Soccer. Witman scored in the Monsignor Martin Association semifinal loss to Canisius. Supports Manchester United.
No. 7 Dan Mascaro - Starpoint midfielder was part of a team ranked first in New York state as a junior, then wore the armband as a senior, posting eight goals and 13 assists in his final year. Scored 18 goals over three seasons, also spent two years of club with Empire.
No. 9 Tyler Jones - The three-year captain for Akron High School also spent four season with Empire United. Jones tied for the team-lead in goals with three, while leading in assists with four.
No. 10 Tim Molik - A two-year starting defender for Lancaster High School, who also contributed to Buffalo Soccer Academy. Strong and athletic, Molik was instrumental in the Legends' Class AA semifinal win over Kenmore West as a senior.
No. 11 Billy Major - Led an Orchard Park defense that conceded just 14 goals all season en route to an 11-5-2 record. Spent two seasons with the Quakers, also played for Buffalo Soccer Academy.
No. 12 Andy McDonough - Lake Shore co-captain was a defensive force while scoring twice as a senior. He's played with Black Watch for three seasons, as well as Empire United and ODP for one apiece.
No. 14 Kabura Elias - Burgard forward tallied 10 goals and six assists as a senior, his third year with the varsity team. Also a member of Buffalo Soccer Academy.
No. 15 Nick Reed - Captained Albion for three years, spent four on varsity. As a senior, Reed led his side in assists, with three, as a defender.
No. 16 David Mack - West Seneca West's maestro posted 35 goals and 32 assists in 56 varsity matches - earning three All-ECIC I selections - while also playing club for Lancaster FC Premier.
No. 17 Derek Toorongian - Went up through the ranks with Holland in club and scholastic soccer. Led the Dutchmen with seven goals as a senior.
No. 18 Mack Bluman - Three-year starter at Sweet Home served as co-captain as a senior. The defender tallied seven assists in his final season.
No. 19 Matt Evenden - Spent three years on varsity for resurgent Hamburg program while also playing club for Black Watch. The defender was named a co-captain as a senior.
No. 20 J.T. Magro - Olean High School defender was a two-time All-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus selection, tallying three goals and four assists as a senior.
No. 21 Brayden Skobjak - Wilson's midfield standout produced three goals and nine assists in his senior season, leading his team to a 14-4 record. Played travel soccer through U-15 before joining a premier side in Niagara-Pioneer.
No. 22 Kyle Floreno - Midfielder captained Depew for two years while playing for Global Premier Soccer for three years. Posted three goals and an assist as a senior.
No. 23 Josh LiPuma - Captained Wilson and spent three seasons with the side as a defender.
No. 24 T.J. Kmitch - Suited up for Lake Shore varsity for three seasons while playing club with the Hamburg Monarchs for two.
No. 25 T.J. Magro - J.T.'s brother, a forward, led the Huskies in scoring for three seasons and earned All-CCAA second team honors for two.
Coaches: Mark Evertt, coach for Alden girls soccer; Rolfe Friedenberg, coach at Kenmore East, also at Empire; J.J. Gabor, head coach for Tonawanda
GK Dylan Guarino - Started three years in goal for Kenmore East, as well as representing Empire United beginning at U-12. Played ODP, too. Won one State Cup, appeared in three.
GK Jarrett Lecceadone - Spent two years as the starter for Randolph, posting 17 career shutouts. Part of the program's 15-1-3 record in 2016.
GK Dan Sgroi - Starpoint's goalkeeper kept 21 clean sheets over the course of his career.
No. 2 Jack Phillips - Three-year varsity played at Orchard Park posted five goals and five assists as a senior. Spent five years as a member of Buffalo Soccer Academy and three with Empire United.
No. 3 Jared Burns - Played three years at Williamsville South and earned conference honors in all three. Popped in 11 goals and added a team-high 18 assists in his senior season.
No. 4 Kevin Loftus - A member of Lancaster's varsity team since his sophomore season, Loftus also played premier for Global Premier Soccer. Paired nicely in defense with Tim Molik, a member of the blue team.
No. 5 Justin Weiskerger - Five-year varsity player spent three years at Frontier before his upperclassman seasons with Hamburg. Split club time between Buffalo Soccer Academy and finished up at Empire. Tallied 10 goals, nine assists from midfield as a senior.
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No. 6 Chris Stryker - Three-year varsity player at Williamsville North also spent three years with Global Premier Soccer. Produced 14 goals and seven assists as a senior striker (because what other position would he play, given his name?).
No. 8 Sam Wagner - Crafty midfielder spent three years with Starpoint, while reaching two State Cups with Empire United. Registered 14 goals and six assists in his final season.
No. 9 Zachary Blodgett - Roamed the heart of the midfield for Orchard Park High School and Empire United.
No. 10 Khalid Ghanim - Played three seasons with Williamsville South in the fall while starring for Amherst's travel team. Ten goals, 13 assists was the output for his senior season.
No. 11 Zach Ernle - Wore the armband at Niagara Wheatfield for three seasons, while also playing travel for seven years. Scored four goals as a defender in his senior season.
No. 12 Domenic Monti - Spent the last two years with Lancaster's varsity team, as well as Global Premier Soccer. Previously starred for the Lancaster-Depew Soccer Club travel team. Six goals, three assists as a senior.
No. 13 Dave Wolanin - Three-year varsity player for Lancaster, also captained the Lancaster-Depew Soccer Club travel team. Potted seven goals as a senior.
No. 14 Nate Roberts - Played three seasons for West Seneca West's varsity team, earning divisional honors in all three. His 16 goals paced his team in 2016.
No. 15 Ryan Nehls - Started two years for Iroquois while playing summer ball with Tri-Town. A key part of Iroquois' surprise run to the Class A finals. Produced six goals and three assists from his midfield position.
No. 17 Joe Aures - Captained West Seneca West for four years - earning divisional honors in two of them - while playing club for Lancaster FC. The sturdy defender added three goals and four assists in his senior campaign.
No. 18 Nick Guay - Lockport through and through, Guay spent two years as a varsity starter on defense while also representing the Lockport travel team.
No. 19 Malcolm Mascardo - Started two seasons at CSAT but played club for Kenmore FC. Seven goals, two assists as a senior.
No. 20 Owen Feeley - A standout for Iroquois High School and Tri-Town soccer club, Feeley joined classmate Ryan Nehls in the Chiefs' deep playoff run.
No. 21 Yanick Ndjibu - Cheektowaga midfielder led his team with six assists as a senior. Stints with Cheektowaga's travel team and Global Premier Soccer hastened his development.
No. 22 Drew Fiutko - Spent all four high school years on Frontier's varsity team, earning divisional honors in three. Also referees locally.
No. 23 David Cloy - Key defensive piece for Wilson's varsity team over the last two years, Cloy also played travel for Niagara Pioneer.
No. 24 Matt Vogt - Two-year standout defender for Newfane helped his team to a 17-1 overall record.
No. 25 Seba Mashimingo - Led Middle-Early College-Bennett in goals and assists in his final season, also played for Delaware Soccer Club.
Email Ben Tsujimoto, who's open to corrections, at firstname.lastname@example.org