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2014-15 Boys soccer player of the year: JT Cook, Servite
What he does on the field doesn’t show up in the box score.
It is one of the most overused clichés in sports. But it applies to Servite’s JT Cook.
Judged solely by his statistics (2 goals, 7 assists), the senior holding midfielder seemingly didn’t have much of an impact this season. But the opposition definitely felt his presence.
He was selected player of the year in CIF-SS Division 1 and the Trinity League’s co-MVP. He is also the Register’s player of the year for boys soccer for the second season in a row.
Without Cook’s steady leadership and tenacious defense, Coach Jon Spencer said it would have been much harder for the Friars to win their first Division 1 boys soccer championship.
“He has helped us become a very difficult team to play against,” Spencer said. “He’s just hard-nosed and can outrun the opponent up the field and back down the other side. He puts in every ounce of effort into the game.”
Cook played in 116 games for Servite from 2011 to this season, which set the school record for appearances during a career.
During Cook’s career, the Friars posted 62 shutouts. This season, the Friars held 17 opponents scoreless. Cook helped the Friars set the school record last year with 18 shutouts.
This season, the Friars outscored their opponents 93-23, including 25-7 in the playoffs, and finished with a 0.741 goals-against average.
Those are the kinds of statistics in which Cook takes pride, the ones that reflect the success of the team rather than the individual.
“My dad has instilled humility in me, and so it is a lot easier to be humble when your name isn’t in a bunch of headlines,” he said. “When I know that I have contributed and helped my team get to where they are now, that’s all I need.”
He has been working hard in the community, too, leading the team’s outreach program, called Higher Ground. It works with at-risk children in Anaheim. Cook helped organize afterschool soccer clinics at Lincoln Elementary School, which is near Servite.
“We just go out there and play with the kids and have fun for two hours,” Cook said. “It is a great time.”
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