Saturday, May 08, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Whitehead Helps the Cougars Shock the Shoreline

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Senior captain Colby Whitehead capped off his career with the H-K boys’ soccer squad by earning All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention accolades for the league champion Cougars. Photo courtesy of Colby Whitehead

Senior captain Colby Whitehead capped off his career with the H-K boys’ soccer squad by earning All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention accolades for the league champion Cougars. (Photo courtesy of Colby Whitehead )

Colby Whitehead lives for the sport of soccer. Colby has been working hard on the pitch since he was five years old and saw all of that effort pay dividends during the 2020 season, when the senior captain helped the Haddam-Killingworth boys’ soccer squad claim the Shoreline Conference title following a difficult 2019 campaign.

“My favorite aspect of soccer is definitely the competitiveness of the game,” Colby says. “There’s no better feeling than having your adrenaline going and feeling like there’s nothing that can come between you and the win.”

H-K posted an overall record of 8-3-2 last fall, finishing the season with a 1-0 win versus East Hampton in the final of the Shoreline Conference Tournament. After the Cougars had gone 2-14 the previous year, it means everything to Colby that he helped them turn things around in his final go-round with the program.

“My favorite moment was definitely our first playoff game against Old Lyme. I felt like this was a huge game for us and really showed the rest of the league that we weren’t a team they can walk over,” says Colby of H-K’s 3-1 quarterfinal win over Old Lyme. “Going from a two-win team last season to winning the conference championship this season is almost unbelievable to think about. It really just shows how all our hard work and dedication form the beginning of the season to the end really paid off.”

Colby was one of the Cougars’ top contributors throughout the 2020 season, finishing with six goals and five assists on the year. A center midfielder, Colby earned All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention by virtue of his performance. Colby says that first-year Head Coach Mike Mead played a significant part in his success last fall.

“My relationship with Coach Mike is one of the best relationships I’ve had with a coach,” Colby says. “I felt like from the start we had a great connection and both understood what we had to do in order to come out on top. As the season came to the end, I looked at Mike as more of a mentor and friend, rather than just a coach.”

Coach Mead calls Colby one of H-K’s strongest two-way players and says he’s the type of athlete who coaches love working with. Colby spent every minute of his four-year high school career on the Cougars’ varsity roster.

“Going into the season, this was Colby’s team. He played alongside so many talented players and was part of three Shoreline finals games, earning a championship in his senior season. As the leader, it was his turn to shine, and he did exactly that,” says Mead. “Colby is one of those irreplaceable players that will be missed. It was an absolute pleasure working alongside Colby, and I thank him for everything he brought to the table this season. I’m hoping to see him make that next step playing in college.”

Colby believes that H-K’s mentality proved the biggest difference between the Cougars’ struggles in 2019 and their success in 2020. Colby says that winning just two games during the 2019 season changed everyone’s perspective and showed them how unforgiving the sport of soccer can be if you don’t bring your A-game.

“The biggest difference between last year and this year was the mindset we had in games. Only winning two games last year was a real eye-opener for us and really changed everyone’s mindset toward this season,” Colby says. “This year, we went into every game with the mindset that we will outwork the other team and, no matter what happens, we will play as hard as we can until the final whistle. I really do believe that this mindset is what won us the championship.”

 


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