OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER: SINA ABEDI
** School: Buchanan
** Grade/position: Senior/goalkeeper
** The résumé: Backbone of one of Central Section's stingiest defenses while leading Bears to 16-5-2 record and second Division I title in past three seasons. Abedi helped Buchanan post second-lowest goal-allowed average in section at 0.594 per game. Only Farmersville was better at 0.551. Of 19 goals scored against the Bears this season, Abedi allowed 16 while posting 11 shutouts. He was named to the All-Tri-River Athletic Conference first team.
** Coming into his own: Abedi spent his first two seasons as the primary backup, subbing for injured Brandon Gettman in a CIF Southern California Regional match as a sophomore and splitting starts with Gettman as a junior. With Gettman graduated, it was Abedi's job to lose and he seized the opportunity, growing into a leader and team captain. "He developed into one of, if not the top goalkeeper in the Valley," said Buchanan coach and former professional goalkeeper John Spurgeon. "I think he really wanted it his senior year. His leadership was huge to me on the field and in training."
** The skills: Abedi possesses ideal goalkeeper size at 6 feet, 3 inches and 185 pounds, has solid reactions from the ground up, can punt the ball three-quarters of the length of the pitch, makes solid goal kicks and can throw the ball 45-50 yards in the air. "He was our last line of defense and first line of attack," Spurgeon said. "I think whatever 10 players were in front of him had total confidence in him. He was our team MVP."
** Paging Dr. Abedi: Spurgeon said Abedi could play soccer at the next level -- at an NCAA Division II university such as Fresno Pacific immediately, or possibly even D-I if he gained seasoning at a junior college. But Abedi has decided to focus on his goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. Abedi, who sports a 4.4 GPA, will attend Cal or UC Irvine and study pre-med.
** He said it: "He has that goalkeeper's mentality. He's a little quirky and off-kilter, like most of us are. He has a good sense of humor but when it's time to get fired up, he brings that intensity. That's one of the reasons for our success, he brought that intensity every day in training and in every match," -- Spurgeon.
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