JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Schaefer family secret is out — all the kids can play.
After watching his older siblings star in sports, Fletcher midfielder Brian Schaefer carved out his own niche. After a season away from high school soccer, Schaefer, the All-News4Jax player of the year was better than ever.
He had to be to keep up with the rest of his family.
Brian’s sister, Jackie, played soccer at Fletcher and went on to play in college at South Carolina. Brian’s brother, James, was the more versatile of the Schaefer crew, branching out into multiple sports, including football and lacrosse.
“We’re all pretty athletic so we all grew up playing multiple sports. My sister and I actually kept with soccer and my brother went on to play football and other sports, but he always had that soccer with him,” said Brian, who was voted the Class 6A Florida Dairy Farmers Player of the Year.
“It was a good family environment to be able to train together and practice together.”
Brian played with the Senators as a sophomore, but spent his junior season playing on the club circuit. When he returned to Fletcher for his final season, Brian was a far more lethal player for the Senators.
This year, it was no secret that Brian, a University of South Florida signee, was Fletcher’s most dynamic player. Amid constant double and triple teams, Schaefer scored 19 goals. Being the point of emphasis among defenses was fine with him. Schaefer had 26 assists and said he was content to draw those extra players around him because it opened things up for teammates.
“My main thing was trying to get everyone on the same page throughout the season and during practices,” he said. “We had times where we had fun, but then there’s times where we had to get down and do what we had to do. More of getting everyone on the same page to all have one end goal.”
The All-News4Jax boys soccer team was compiled using nominations and input from area coaches.
Position, Player, School, Class, Notable
F Adel Iriskic, Mandarin, Sr.: Balanced playmaker could score (team-best 14 goals) and distribute (13 assists) as Mustangs went 17-2-2.
F Jacob McLeod, Creekside, Sr.: Excellent season for the Knights. He led the team with 23 goals and added 6 assists for 11-5-3 Creekside.
F Alex McIninley, Bishop Kenny, Sr.: Crusaders’ second-leading goal scorer (21) and had 4 assists for 20-6-2 state semifinalists.
MF Alonso Munoz, Bolles, Sr.: Had 15 goals, 12 assists for Bulldogs. Northeastern University signee.
MF Nico Gosendi, Ponte Vedra, Sr.: Excellent distributor, he had 15 assists and 8 goals to go along with those for Sharks.
MF Garret Godfrey, Fleming Island, Sr.: Had 24 goals, 10 assists this season for the Golden Eagles.
MF Brian Schaefer, Fletcher, Sr.: Easy choice among coaches as the All-News4Jax player of the year. Had 26 assists and 19 goals for Senators. Signed with USF.
D Jack Dearie, Nease, Sr.: Virginia Tech signee was a multi-year star for Panthers and led team to second round of Class 7A playoffs. Several area coaches said he was the area’s best defender.
D Colby McCrone, Creekside, Sr.: Anchor of a defender could also contribute on offense (12 assists, 7 goals).
D Connor Moore, Fletcher, Sr.: Had 7 goals and a pair of assists to go alongside his rock solid defensive play for 14-4 Senators.
GK Andrew Zalewa, Stanton, Sr.: Only area keeper nominated for class player of the year honor (5A). Led Blue Devils to state semifinals with 8 shutouts, 0.85 GAA and 19-5-1 record.
Position, Player, School, Class, Notable
F Mahmoud Elbatouty, Stanton, Sr.: Had 18 goals and 9 assists for Blue Devils team that reached the 5A state semifinals.
F Aidan Lipovetsky, Bishop Kenny, Sr.: Had 16 goals, 12 assists for Crusaders.
F David Morales, Ponte Vedra, Sr.: Led Sharks in goals (16) and added 7 assists.
MF Christian Lopez, Crescent City, Sr.: Had 14 goals, 12 assists and paced Raiders to second round of 3A state playoffs.
MF Cameron Strachota, Bolles, Sr.: Had 15 goals, 13 assists for Bulldogs.
MF Amar Mesic, Mandarin, Jr.: Had 12 goals and 7 assists for Mustangs; now has 25 goals in 3 seasons.
MF Savio Palushi, Nease, Sr.: Scored 40 goals in three seasons, including team-best 20 goals this season for 10-7-3 Panthers.
D Yimmy Alvarez, Suwannee, Sr.: Had 8 assists and a pair of goals for 12-4-6 Bulldogs.
D Jack McBrayer, Ponte Vedra, Sr.: Had 3 goals, 3 assists for Sharks.
D/MF Sean Meisler, Bishop Kenny, Jr.: Had 20 goals, 18 assists for state semifinalists.
GK Dean Jamsheedy, Creekside, Sr.: Had 75 saves, 5 shutouts and 1.49 GAA for Knights.
F Zach Auger, Baker County, Sr.
MF Nick Bengermino, Bolles, Sr.
GK Zwade Blandin, Fletcher, Sr.
F Caleb Colotti, Menendez, Sr.
GK Ryan Croft, St. Johns CD, Sr.
F Brandon Diaz, Stanton, Jr.
MF Evan DiPaula, Fleming Island, Sr.
F Mason Doherty, Episcopal, Sr.
MF Eli Gordon, Bolles, Sr.
F/MF Dean Hogg, Keystone Heights, Jr.
MF Brady Johnson, Bartram Trail, Jr.
D Juan Jaramillo, Ridgeview, Jr.
F/MF CJ Joyner, Suwannee, So.
MF Mark Khadour, Bishop Kenny, Sr.
F John Linge, St. Johns CD, Sr.
MF David Manaute, Menendez, Jr.
D Deon McPhee, Fletcher, Sr.
MF Joey Mueller, Creekside, So.
MF Bryan Ortiz, Ridgeview, Sr.
D Dejan Pajkanovic, Mandarin, Jr.
D Tyler Park, Bolles, Sr.
F Martin Pineiros, Bishop Kenny, So.
GK Frank Rooney, Fleming Island, Jr.
MF Vinicius Sales, Wolfson, Sr.
F Trey Sparks, Bartram Trail, Sr.
MF Van Slabicki, Fletcher, Sr.
F Nathan Testa, Fleming Island, Sr.
F/MF, Zachary Tretler, Fletcher, Sr.