NEWPORT NEWS — Before the season, Jamestown soccer coach Bobby O'Brien informed Patrick Kelly that he would be a forward, moving him up from being a defensive midfielder.
The move shifted Dan Geyer back from forward to midfielder, taking a more reserved offensive role, while Kelly scored 36 goals — a school record — and had 19 assists.
"(Geyer) was going to have to do the dirty work and the things that no one wanted to do," O'Brien said. "He wasn't going to get the fame and glory, but whatever I asked him to do on or off the field, I knew that he was going to get it done and he was going to get the other guys to be on board with him."
Though Geyer relinquished some of the spotlight during the season, he still got recognition for the role he played on the Eagles' state-championship squad, being named to the Virginia High School Coaches' Association boys soccer all-star game with Kelly. The East team, coached by O'Brien, lost to the West, 3-2, in the second overtime period.
When asked about how both Kelly and Geyer developed throughout their four years at Jamestown, the first thing to came to mind for O'Brien was Geyer's leadership.
"He really was the guy that was going to have the heart that guys rallied around," O'Brien said.
O'Brien said Kelly developed most as a player, receiving a scholarship from the University of Mary Washington to play soccer. Geyer will attend Northwestern Preparatory School. Also representing the Bay Rivers District in the all-star game was Lafayette's Tory Schneider.
For Kelly, playing without Geyer by his side as he's done since they were 10 and on the same club team, will be an unwelcome adjustment.
"He's always been trusty in that if he's on the team, then we'll be decent this year," Kelly said. "Going into next year, I'm kind of a little nervous that he's not going to be on the team. We're here, but it's like, ugh, this is our last game. It kind of hasn't really hit me yet."
The familiarity strengthened their connection on the field. Geyer said they are always aware of where the other is on the field and what the other will do in a specific situation. Kelly said he always knows that Geyer is in the center, so he can lay it back to him.
"On the field, we don't even have to say anything to each other," Geyer said. "He'll make a run and I know exactly what he's doing. I'm so used to it that it's like muscle memory."
While it wasn't always Geyer's name in the box score last season, O'Brien said he boosted the team from the midfield and was never underrated within the squad. Kelly, however, saw teams make the mistake of not taking him seriously. On Wednesday night, his sacrifice from the season was honored.
"He never stops running — he's like the Energizer Bunny," Kelly said. "A lot of people underestimate him because he's small in size, but he just keeps running. He'll go up against the biggest guy on the field."
WEST 3, EAST 2
Halftime: West, 2-0. End of regulation: 2-2. Goals: East, Noel 2; West, Opoku-Yeboah, Flesch 2. Assists: West, Flesch, Opoku-Yeboah, Radford. Shots: East 15, West 14. Saves: East 5, West 7.