This was supposed to be a big year for Skyline’s boys soccer team.
With 12 seniors, coach Steve Carey had high hopes that his program was going to do special things. Carey’s son Charlie, Jose Castillo, Owen Chenery, Caleb Dotson, Joseph Hillaert, Logan Lockhart, Hunter Peacock, Layth Smadi, Sayf Smadi, Andrew Thompson and Walker Wilkins made a big mark on the program. Steve Carey said they showed great leadership in the preseason.
“This year the senior boys they started preseason earlier than they ever have,” Steve Carey said. “They really took it on themselves to lead before the season officially started and for the three weeks we had of the season. They were setting the pace for the younger guys and really conveying what we wanted as coaches through them. They were self-policing. We didn’t have to worry about too much fooling around. They were taking care of themselves.”
Brothers Layth and Sayf Smadi said they enjoyed playing with the team and most importantly with each other over the years.
“It’s been fun,” Layth Smadi said. “We’ve learned from each other. We’re both brutally honest with each other and we give each other advice. We just learn from that. Like I think we’ve skyrocketed because he’s kept telling me so many times over and over what I’m doing bad.”
“It’s definitely nice because both of us have the chemistry together,” Sayf Smadi said. “We’ve been playing soccer with each other all of our lives. So we’re really comfortable playing together out there.”
Layth Smadi said it’s been special playing with the other seniors over the years.
“Honestly, I’m just so glad that everybody came out senior year,” he said. “We had so much depth on the team. We would’ve had a stellar season this year. We would have shocked everybody most definitely.”
Steve Carey said that Thompson was a quiet leader for the team.
“Drew Thompson is one of the quiet players,” Steve Carey said “He plays as hard and as long as we need him to. He’ll never say anything, he never complains.”
Hillaert has been a standout on the team for a number of years, and Steve Carey said that he was excited to see how he would have done his senior year.
“Joseph Hillaert has speed like there’s no tomorrow,” Steve Carey said. “We were planning on playing him up front, which would have been a change for him because he had played a lot in the back. But this year we were going to try him up front and unfortunately that never materialized.”
Steve Carey said Logan Lockhart was coming off an injury but had high hopes for what he could bring to the team this season.
Wilkins was also going to be a big part of this year’s team, according to Steve Carey.
“He grew physically so much,” Steve Carey said. “He turned his self into a real presence physically, and with a left foot. We had real good stuff planned for him, being a natural left-footer. But he was going to lead that whole left side. He could play back or midfield and he could lead that whole left side from the backend all the way up to the attacking zone.”
Steve Carey said Peacock, who will be playing next season at Randolph College, would have been a big contributor this year as well. Steve Carey said the rest of the seniors also would have given the team valuable minutes.
Charlie Carey said he was excited to see what the team could do on offense this year, because they were working hard on improving it.
“We were doing very heavy defense for the past couple years, but this year we were going to work on more offensive skills,” Charlie Carey said. “We had the defense down. So we were going to work on scoring more goals, winning more games.”
Charlie Carey said it’s been special to have his father as coach the last few years.
“It’s great,” Charlie Carey said. “You learn more about him as a coach. He taught me pretty much everything I knew about soccer. So just for him to be there since day 1 was just great.”
Layth Smadi said he will either be attending Shenandoah University next year or Lord Fairfax Community College and he hopes to at least play club soccer at either school.
Sayf Smadi said he will be attending Virginia Tech and is planning on playing intramural soccer there. Charlie Carey said he will be attending George Mason University and is hoping to play club soccer there.
Charlie Carey said he wants to continue playing soccer and it’s a sport that has taught him a lot about life.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is team building, not focusing on yourself,” he said. “Not everything is about you scoring goals. It’s about the team as a whole and winning as a team.”