Wilde Lake’s Touray, Petrera and Owusu from McDonogh headlines VSN’s Boys Soccer honors; Shea is  Coach of the Year

by Nelson Coffin

Varsity Sports Network is proud to introduce our 2019 Boys Soccer Players and Coach of the Year.

Ousman Touray had a breakout junior season, capped with a memorable postseason for state champion Wilde Lake. Vincent Petrera became an impact performer in his first season for McDonogh School, which claimed an unprecedented third consecutive MIAA A Conference championship. 

Petrera and Touray, both juniors, are co-Players of the Year. Matthew Owusu was the veteran defensive force for another championship fall for McDonogh. Owusu is Defensive Player of the Year.

Trevor Shea guided Wilde Lake to its finest season in decades. Shea is Coach of the Year.

Congratulations to Ousman, Vincent, Matthew and Trevor. The quartet were kind enough to share their stories with us, including the video interview below.





Touray carried Wildecats to state title with captivating season

by Nelson Coffin

In 2018, Ousman Touray was called up from Wilde Lake’s junior varsity boys soccer team for the final two games of the varsity season. There was excitement around the Howard County squad going into 2019 with Touray getting an opportunity to display his vast skills.

But just like Lamar Jackson’s breathtaking second-year as Baltimore Ravens quarterback, Touray exceeded expectations with a stellar junior season.

Describing it as stellar may be understating Touray’s shining moments in the Class 3A state final four when he scored twice in the final 15 minutes to oust Howard County rival Mount Hebron, 2-1, in a semifinal prior to netting a “golden goal” in a 1-0 triumph over two-time defending champ C. Milton Wright in the final for the Wildecats (12-3-1).

At 6-feet-4 and 190 pounds, Touray is not just unique because of his height. He’s also left-footed, although his state championship-winning goal — and 23rd of the season to go with five assists  — came on a shot from his right foot.

He said that senior Denzel Pinyin passed the ball to junior Grant Gladden, who “tipped it to me. I tried to shoot with my left foot but then a defender came, so I put it in with my right foot.”

Wilde Lake coach Trevor Shea said that Touray is similar to former Oakland Mills star and current Baltimore Blast player Mo Hymad N’diaye, only with a higher upside.

“For Ousman, it’s not only his height and his ability to score, but he’s left-footed,” Shea said. “And that throws off the defense because they’re so used to defending a right-footed player.”

Shea said that once he watched Touray shooting on a goal in an informal setting, “I knew he could be special. He had the height and the speed, and I could see the dedication he had when he watched every one of our games when he was on the JV. He was willing to put in the effort.”

Touray said that he wasn’t afraid to unleash his lethal shot as a first-time varsity performer.

“I was confident with my shot,” he said. “And I feel comfortable shooting from 30 yards.”




Newcomer Petrera helps bring Eagles historic championship

by Nelson Coffin

Arriving from Worchester Prep, where he set the single-season scoring record in 2018, Vincent Petrera ready to make an impact in his first year with McDonogh School. Although he accomplished that with flying colors, Petrera had a moment of self-doubt.

In early October, McDonogh defeated John Carroll School, 3-0. Petrera said he didn’t play very well. And that came after he had started the season with a three-goal barrage against St. Mary’s Ryken followed by a two-goal effort in a win over DeMatha Catholic.

McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta, whose team finished 15-4-1 and No. 1 in the final VSN Top 20, had no doubt that Petrera’s work-rate alone would make him an integral part of the Eagles’ quest to three-peat in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference.

“He led us in goals (17) and assists (12) all year,” said Quaranta, who is 103-18-3 in six years at the helm. “He leads by example and is just a fiery performer who never takes a minute off. He’s an 80-minute guy with a super engine and he never stops running — and that puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”

Petrera’s best outing was his last when he scored all three goals in McDonogh’s 3-2 victory over No. 2 Archbishop Curley in the A Conference finale, making the Owings Mills school the first to three-peat in one of the nation’s premier boys soccer leagues. 

Quaranta can’t remember anyone else matching that achievement in the penultimate game of the MIAA A.

“It was insane,” senior teammate Matt Owusu, the 2019 VSN Defender of the Year, said about the feat.

“Vince is a prime-time player,” he added. “He’s very good 1-v-1 and he’s fast and strong. He keeps it simple. He doesn’t try to dance (with the ball). And that’s what you need in a striker.”

Petrera said that being welcomed by his new soccer teammates made the transition from the Eastern Shore to Owings Mills relatively seamless.

“I just hit my stride at the right time,” he said. “I was pretty confident coming in because I knew I’d get better playing against better competition in the MIAA.”




Owusu’s steady presence helped spark McDonogh’s run into history

by Nelson Coffin

As the only senior on McDonogh School’s backline that would be facing some fearsome firepower from Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference rivals, Matt Owusu had to re-think the best way to get through to his younger defensive mates.

After playing for an U.S. Soccer Development Academy for two years following his freshman campaign at the Owings Mills school, Owusu returned to the Eagles with a veteran presence at left center-back surrounded by sophomore right center-back Jacob Morrell, junior left back Wyatt Thompson, freshman right back Tyler Tucker and junior keeper Connor Smith.

The 2019 VSN Boys Soccer Defender of the Year’s mission was to steady that group when times were tough with much-needed organizational skills while allowing his talent as a top-notch defender to shine through.

Owusu handled those chores seamlessly, providing quiet leadership to help his team maintain its A Conference mastery.

“Being a leader in academy soccer is a lot different from being a leader in high school,” he said, noting that academy players are used to taking direction in more blunt terms than his high school peers. “You have to be softer. When you take them aside to talk to them, they respond a lot better.”

And the Eagle defenders responded very well, considering they helped produce eight shutouts in their title run this fall.

“When you get a shutout, that’s when you know you’re really doing your job,” Owusu said.

Even in defeat, such as in a 3-0 setback to then-No. 1 Archbishop Curley, McDonogh (15-4-1) never lost confidence that its ultimate goal could be reached.

“We lost, but it’s not like they broke down the defense,” the Bucknell commit said. “They scored on an own goal and then we whiffed on another one. We knew we had to clean up those mistakes.”

Owusu said that McDonogh was confident it could win the rematch in the championship game by counterattacking against the Friars’ aggressive frontline.

“We knew we could get counters,” he said. “We scored a lot in transition (in the 3-2 triumph).”

Meanwhile, the Eagles’ defense bent — but did not break — with Owusu holding down the fort.

“Matt is a tremendous athlete,” McDonogh coach Brandon Quaranta said. “He just makes everything look so easy. He has all the quantities you want in a kid who anchors the defense.”

In the end, Owusu’s defense also made the offense — especially 2019 Boys Soccer Player of the Year Vince Petrera — better.

“He’s really good at tackling and really good at containing you,” Petrera said. “He made me work a lot harder in practice.”




Shea’s gamble, confidence paid off with first state title in nearly three decades for Wilde Lake

by Nelson Coffin

In every season, coaches are faced with numerous decisions, either major moves or minor tweaks, that can make or break a season.

Not very often, though, does a team’s fate come down to the kind of gamble like the one Wilde Lake High coach Trevor Shea took in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs match against Reservoir.

With the Wildecats tied in a shootout, 2-2, Shea yanked senior goalie Gabriel Viteri —  credited with seven saves prior to the move — and replaced him with senior Jonathan Fontana, who is normally a center back.

Considering the confidence it took to make such a momentous decision at the most crucial juncture of an elimination game, Shea was amply rewarded when Fontana came through with a couple of saves as Wilde Lake prevailed, 5-4, in the seventh shootout round to advance to a semifinal showdown with Mount Hebron.

He is further rewarded by being selected as the 2019 VSN Boys Soccer Coach of the Year for pushing all the right buttons for the Wildecats this season.

After making that pivotal call, Shea was able — with the help of 2019 VSN Boys Soccer Co-Player of the Year Ousman Touray and others — to complete a deep playoff run by steering the No. 4 Wildecats to the program’s first state championship since 1997.

Shea said that making the goalie switch was a move he didn’t second-guess — even in the moment.

“Jonathan had showed in practice that he was a specialist at playing goalie in the PK shootout, so I talked with him about going in,” Shea said. “He was ready for the challenge. That was the beginning of our journey to a championship. After the game a couple of parents said they couldn’t believe that I had the (guts) to do it. They said that I must either be crazy or be some kind of magician.”

Making his own calls like that one is what motivated the Oakland Mills grad to take the Wilde Lake job after being an assistant at his alma mater under his dad, Don Shea, the dean of Howard County coaches.

“I loved working with my dad — and I still do,” Trevor Shea said. “It’s just that I wanted to be able to make key substitutions — to make my own decisions.”

What was even better for Wilde Lake (15-3-1) is that Viteri returned to make 13 saves in a 2-1 semifinal victory over Howard County rival Mount Hebron and in a 1-0 overtime verdict over two-time defending Class 3A state champion C. Milton Wright in the final.

“He just kept making save after save,” Shea recalled about the Mount Hebron game.

Moreover, Viteri’s clutch save in overtime against Wright a couple of minutes before Touray’s “golden goal” was a critical moment before the Wildecats’ secured the title.

Even with that fateful decision in mind, Shea’s determination to elevate Touray to the varsity at the end of the 2018 campaign against the advice of a former JV coach was perhaps even more of a fortuitous decision for the program.

“He (the JV coach) said, ‘I don’t know, I was going to cut him,’” Shea said, noting that his assistant, Dave Nesbitt, is a major factor in the Wildecats’ success. “I said, ’No, we’re not doing that.’”

Under Shea’s guidance, Touray totaled 23 goals and five assists this season, including the last three goals of the playoffs.

Shea said he could see a glimpse of what the team — and Touray — could be after a 6-0 demolition of Atholton to open the season.

It just took awhile for all eight of the seniors who started with him “to share a dream” four years ago to embrace his system.

Down the stretch, Shea made enough other smart maneuvers to guide Wilde Lake to six consecutive one-goal wins — including the nail-biter at Reservoir and a pair of 2-1 verdicts over VSN Preseason No. 2 River Hill — to close the season.

“After the Reservoir game, we felt we were meant to be there” he said. “The kids started to buy into the belief and the magic. And then it started snowballing after that.”

Shea, a 2005 James Madison University is part of soccer coaching royalty. His father, Don, who he played and later coached under at Oakland Mills, has won nine state titles (eight at Oakland Mills). Shea’s mother, Nancy, won a state girls title at Oakland Mills (1992), and sister Megan guided Wilde Lake girls to the 3A state final last month.

In four seasons at Wilde Lake, Trevor Shea is 38-21-6.