The Sun's 2013 Boys Soccer Players of the Year
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 6:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 4:51 p.m.
JOHN SCHRATT, BUCHHOLZ
Named Buchholz's most valuable player as a senior, Schratt sacrificed overall statistics for wins this year with the Bobcats. After scoring 13 goals as a junior, Schratt saw his chances at the net depreciate in his final season to four goals and five assists when he took on a facilitator's role within Buchholz's midfield. The moved paid off almost immediately for his teammates, as the 18-2-4 Bobcats jumped out to a 13-game unbeaten streak to open the year and finished as the first state semifinalists in school history. Buchholz rose as high as the No. 2 national ranking by MaxPreps before being knocked out of the Class 5A state playoffs by Winter Garden West Orange. Following the season, Schratt, along with teammate Eric West and BHS coach Andy Aulick, were selected to participate in the All-Star Boys Soccer Classic at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Schratt, a Sun All-Area first team selection last year, and 13 other Bobcats seniors end their careers after leading Buchholz to the playoffs for three straight years and becoming the school's first district champions since 2001.
“Honestly, these are all my best friends,” Schratt said. “We've been playing together since seventh grade, and we've all played on the same team since I don't know how long. ... We all knew how to play with each other.”
After graduating high school, Schratt plans to attend the University of Central Florida and major in either film studies or take a pre-med route. Though he has received attention from other college soccer coaches from around the state, Schratt said he would like to attempt to walk on to the Knights next season.
“I know my junior year I had a lot more goals; I played the same position and had a lot more assists. But this year we were just lacking that guy who could get us the ball back and distribute instead of trying to go for glory. … Somebody had to do the job, and I'm actually happy I got to do it.” — John Schratt
JOSUE DIAZ, LAFAYETTE
Diaz finished the season as the area's leading scorer by pouring in 41 goals for the 16-6 Hornets. A speedy midfielder, Diaz also dished 19 assists to help Lafayette reach the regional finals for the second straight season. Diaz has already won four playoff games in just two seasons with the Hornets. Before the 5-foot-7 sophomore's arrival on the varsity squad last year, Lafayette was 0-3 in prior postseason appearances. Perhaps Diaz's most impressive performance this season came in the Hornets' 5-2 win over Tallahassee Maclay in the District 2-1A championship, when he scored two goals and an assist to lead Lafayette back from a 2-0 deficit. A Sun All-Area second team selection last season with 19 goals, Diaz more than doubled his goal total this year before losing at Orangewood Christian in the Class 1A regional finals.
“It's been going little by little,” Diaz said. “People have started noticing (Lafayette), especially now, making it far in soccer. Nobody actually thought we could actually make it, but here we are.”
While Diaz enjoyed a prolific season kicking the soccer ball, he also excelled as a punter for the Hornets' football team. Diaz was named to the Sun's All-Area first team and to The Associated Press' All-State second team after averaging 46.2 yards on 28 punts last season.
“Coach told me to just not give up every time I get down. Just get back up and chase after the ball. He knew I had speed and so he said, 'Just use it against them,' and I did. That's basically what got me to scoring that many goals.” — Josue Diaz