The Vernon High school boys' soccer team consistently put forth some fine efforts on the pitch this season.
Leading the way for the Vikings this year are a trio of senior captains - Kyle Dunbar, Caleb Gibson and Ryan Lally.
Joseph Jones, Vernon’s head coach, is pleased with the guidance the three leaders are providing this fall.
“I chose these three individuals as captains because of their experience and dedication to improve not only themselves but the entire program not only during the season, but the off season as well,’’ Jones said. "Ryan Lally (goal keeper) has been invaluable to the team for the past three years. He has gained the respect of not only the players and staff of the Vernon program, but that of his opponents as well. He has solidified his spot as one of the top goal keepers in the state of New Jersey this year.
“Kyle Dunbar (midfield) is instrumental in keeping the fabric of the team together. His positive attitude and work ethic is an example for everyone."
Dunbar had nine goals and two assists so far this season.
Caleb Gibson (forward) has emerged as a legitimate goal scoring threat this year," Jones said.
Gibson has 17 goals, and two assists and Jones said the opposition can't match his speed.
Jones has watched these three seniors steadily make positive progress as individuals and as teammates.
“The three individuals have matured greatly over the past couple of years, especially this year,’’ Jones said. “They have learned to help the team rise through adversity and help keep them motivated through the long year with its ups and downs.
“These individuals help their teammates and other members of the program through leading by example. They are the first ones at practice and often the last to leave. They do not delegate some of the more mundane tasks such as carrying equipment and getting water to others. Instead they will often take on these jobs themselves.’’
Through 17 regular season games, the Vikings had a solid overall record of 10-7. The opening round of the NJSIAA Sectional Tournaments get underway across the state this week.
“Nolan Shad (senior) and Josh Bamper (senior) also have been team leaders, one could say they are ‘unofficial captains’. Both work extremely hard both on and off the field every day. Josh is the type of player that will go through a brick wall for the team without being asked. Nolan brings a passion for the game and for success that is contagious.
“The team has struggled through a wide range of emotions this year. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows they continue to come out every day and put in the work. They have demonstrated that they can play with the best teams in the area. The team has begun a mentoring program where seniors serve as mentors to incoming freshmen helping them transition into high school. We have also completed a charity fundraiser where $3,000 was raised for the ‘goforthegoal’ foundation which helps those dealing with pediatric cancer.’’
NOTES: The individual statistics listed above were from games played through October 15.
“I chose these three individuals as captains because of their experience and dedication to improve not only themselves but the entire program not only during the season, but the off season as well."
Vernon Township Boys Soccer Coach