Photo: Westbrook Christian’s Nathan Starzl (left) and Southside’s John Doster participate in a practice of North All-Star boys soccer team on Wednesday, July 14 at Gadsden City High School. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthyPublisher/Editor
A pair of area high school soccer players and a local coach enjoyed a tune-up to next week’s Alabama High School Athletic Association North/South All-Star boys soccer game in Montgomery.
Westbrook Christian’s Nathan Starzl and Southside’s John Doster joined several of their North teammates for a practice at Gadsden City High School last Wednesday, July 14. Running the practice along with Randolph boys coach Alex Tomlinson was Samantha Corker, longtime coach of both the GCHS boys and girls soccer teams.
In Westbrook’s first full season as a program (the team played only four games in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season), Starzl finished with 25 goals and 19 assists to help the Warriors post an 11-4 record and earn a berth in the Class 2A state playoffs, where the Warriors dropped a close 2-1 decision to Boaz in the first round. He recently was named Player of the Year for the 2021 Greater Gadsden Area boys high school soccer team. Starzl had to sit out the abbreviated 2020 season as a transfer from Gadsden City.
“I’m excited to play with so many good players from across the state,” said Starzl. “It was nice to finally play a full season at Westbrook, and it turned out better than I thought. I’ve played club ball with several of these guys, so I already know a lot of them. I’m excited to be going down to Montgomery, because I love to travel, and getting to play soccer makes it even better.”
Doster led the Panthers with 22 goals and 11 assists as the Panthers won the area title and made it to the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
He was selected to the Greater Gadsden Area boys high school soccer first team.
“It’s a great opportunity to play with these amazing players that are going to be out there,” said Doster. “Just from the first few minutes of this practice, I can see just how good these guys are. Plus, we have two really good coaches, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do together.”
This is Corker’s third time as a North all-star soccer coach, with the previous two as girls coach. She was co-coach of the 2020 North boys but the game was cancelled to COVID-19 concerns. She was named Coach of the Year for the 2020 Greater Gadsden Area girls high school soccer team.
“It’s always cool to be recognized,” said Corker, a Gadsden High graduate. “I’ve been involved with both [the girls and boys so-ccer] programs for the past 20 years or so, so it feels good to be recognized with the boys. It’s probably the first time we’ve had two boys from the same county make the [North] team. It’s great to have our local kids recognized.”
The boys all-star game is scheduled for Wednesday, July 21 at 7 p.m. at Auburn-Montgomery. The girls’ game, which includes Southside’s Camryn Davis and Glencoe’s Laney Bishop, starts at 5 p.m.