Best on the Shoreline!
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Senior midfielder Evan Lemon is excited for the opportunity to play his senior season with the Guilford boys’ soccer squad this fall. (Photo courtesy of Evan Lemon )
Evan Lemon has started for the Guilford boys’ soccer team since his sophomore year of high school, and he’s evolved into one of squad’s best players.
A senior, Evan plays the outside midfielder position, typically on the left side of the pitch, and is one of Guilford’s greatest creators on offense. Last year, Evan scored three goals and tallied seven assists while helping Guilford win the SCC title and then advance to the Class L state semifinals.
“I have been playing soccer since I was four years old,” says Evan. “I remember my first-ever soccer practice. It was at Bittner Park in the grass of one of the baseball fields and, since then, I haven’t stopped.”
Guilford finished with a record of 15-2-6 en route to winning the SCC Tournament for the first time in a decade last fall. The team was later eliminated from the Class L State Tournament by Hand in a semifinal game that came down to penalty kicks.
Since that moment, Evan has been chomping at the bit for another opportunity to play in states. Although the CIAC isn’t planning on hosting its typical postseason tournament this year, Evan is still looking forward to playing some games in the 2020 campaign.
“I am really happy that we are able to get some games in, however many that may be,” Evan says. “I am definitely hoping to have some kind of tournament, because there’s nothing like SCC’s and states. Whatever happens, happens, but our team is taking the regulations seriously and doing our best to not take our season for granted and staying safe.”
Guilford experienced several season-defining moments in 2019. For Evan, there was none better than when his team staked its claim to the conference crown by earning a 1-0 win over crosstown rival Hand in the SCC final. Evan had an assist on the lone goal of the game.
“My favorite moment from last season was assisting Anthony Ippolito in the goal that won us the SCC championship,” says Evan. “Watching the ball I played go over Hand’s back line and Tony finishing it off was the best feeling I’ve ever had while playing high school soccer.”
Last year marked Curtis Gullette’s first full season as head coach of the Guilford boys’ soccer squad. Gullette praises Evan for his tenacity on the field, as well as his ability to create scoring opportunities for the team.
“Evan has been a varsity starter since his sophomore year. He is one of our best creators and he is also a great outside mid and forward with the skills and physicality to make great plays for the team,” Gullette says. “We look for him to be one of the top players in assists and goals this year.”
Evan feels that Gullette’s coaching style is perfectly suited for Guilford. Evan and his coach have grown close over the years as Gullette has pushed him to become a better player.
“From the first game Coach Gullette coached us, halfway through my sophomore season, it was clear that his modern style of play was definitely going to affect our team for the better,” Evan says. “I think his best characteristic is the fact that he can share a laugh with all of the lads, but also makes it very clear when it is time to be serious. As high schoolers, I feel like it is important to have a coach that understands that as nice as it would be, we cannot be serious at all times. Coach recognizes that and makes practices fun because of it.”
Evan plays soccer on a year-round basis with two of his Guilford teammates, Ippolito and Aidan Buchanan. The trio competes for the Connecticut Rush travel team.
“I pretty much play soccer all year-round, so I am always improving my game,” says Evan. “We basically are playing soccer every month of the year. It is important to play consistently and at a high level for the players who want to play soccer in college.”
Aside from playing soccer, Evan is involved in the Pilgrim Fellowship and Guilford High School Voices and volunteers in the Unified Sports program. He also just took up a new hobby that’s benefiting him on the soccer pitch.
“Recently, I have picked up skateboarding,” Evan says. “Much like soccer, I enjoy it because there is no skill cap, and there are so many different tricks to learn. It also helps me in soccer, because it has dramatically improved my balance.”
Evan plans on playing soccer in college after he graduates from Guilford. Evan has already received an offer from Nichols College, but he is considering other schools, too.
“I really look forward to continuing my soccer career in college,” says Evan. “I appreciate the support of my teammates, family, and friends.”