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O.C. Small School Athlete of the Year: Tarbut V'Torah's Carly Malatskey
For much of her youth, Carly Malatskey made plays from the back.
Right back, to be specific.
The Tarbut V’Torah senior had played defense through her AYSO years and into the start of her club soccer career with Slammers FC.
She had demonstrated remarkable dribbling ability. By her U14 season, her club coach, Ziad Khoury, felt it was time for a position change.
“When she was U14, she was called up to the national team as a right back,” Khoury said. “I looked at the team. We were struggling at the time, and we didn’t have anyone that could score goals.
“Watching Carly, her individual brilliancy on the ball, she was very comfortable taking players on. I just made that decision that day. I said, ‘You know what, you’re going up to forward.’”
Malatskey was able to get to goal, but for the first six months after moving to forward, she struggled to find the back of the net. She wondered if being a forward was right for her.
Khoury was patient, saying, “Trust me. Someday, you’re going to be an unbelievable forward.”
Four years later, the one-time back had moved to the forefront of her opponent’s minds. Teams delegated two and sometimes three defenders to try to stop her.
It wasn’t enough.
Malatskey, now a senior, scored 73 goals in 19 games this season, the second most all-time in the CIF Southern Section.
For that, she has been selected the Register’s Orange County Small School Female Athlete of the Year.
Walid Khoury, twin brother of Ziad, has coached for seven years at Tarbut V’Torah, a private school in Irvine with an enrollment of 163 students. He was awestruck by the season his star forward put together.
“That was an insane year,” he said. “To score that many goals, regardless of what level you’re playing at, it is ridiculous. Some of the goals were unbelievable.”
The Lions forward was proud that her achievements brought attention to her school.
“When people ask me where I go, I just say a small type of school,” Malatskey said. “They’ve never really heard of it, and it’s just always been like that.
“I think it’s been incredible that I’ve put it out there a little bit more. It deserves even more recognition, but just putting it out there a little bit is a really big thing for that school.”
The Malatskey family has been connected to Tarbut V’Torah since 1997; Carly’s older sisters, Britt and Jenna, also attended the school, which students can attend from kindergarten through the end of high school.
Malatskey loves her school, and it was the team accomplishments that mattered most to her. Tarbut V’Torah (17-2) won its third straight San Joaquin League title, and it advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS playoffs for the first time.
“The school things are the most amazing thing because it just shows how much the soccer program has grown at TVT,” Malatskey said. “It’s a culmination of everything that we’ve worked together to achieve. I think that’s been the most rewarding thing.”
Walid Khoury appreciates Malatskey’s fervor for her school.
“All she wants to do is go out there and play and help her school,” he said. “It’s a rarity when you see it. She’s a pure person.”
Malatskey has a soccer scholarship to Stanford, which she will begin attending in the fall, and she hopes to play professionally. She was a member of the U.S. U18 national team this year.