The Blacksburg High School boys’ soccer team has been considered one of the best programs in the state for almost two decades, and Monday, three student athletes announced they would continue their playing career in college.
Harris Salom is headed to Washington and Lee, Joseph Carman to Roanoke College and Jordan Burch to Milligan College.
In the past three years, the group has been a part of three state runner up teams. In 2014, the Bruins were tied after overtime in the state championship game and lost on a penalty kick. They were that year’s region runner up and conference champion with an 18-4 record.
In 2015, the team was the state runner up losing the game on an own goal with 52 seconds left in regulation. They were region and conference champions finishing with a 21-2 record.
Last year, the team was again state runner ups losing 2-1 on a corner kick with 14 minutes left. They were region and conference champions with a record of 20-2-1 record.
Coach Shelly Blumenthal said all three players have been important cogs to the team’s success over the past few seasons.
“Jordan is a powerful player with great speed on the ball. He has the ability to take players to goal in one on one situations and attracts a lot of attention from opposing defenders, which creates space and scoring opportunities for his teammates. I expect Jordan to adapt well to college soccer and the balance of academic rigor he will encounter,” he said.
Burch finished 2015 with six goals and an assist as a support player at forward. Last year, he tallied eight goals and four assists as a starter.
Carman is the consummate student-athlete, according to Blumenthal, who said he works as diligently in the classroom as he does on the soccer field. He was named the team’s co-captain this season.
“He leads through work ethic and has earned great respect from teammates, coaches and opponents while being the anchor of our back line. Joe will challenge for significant playing time at Roanoke College as an outside back and is built for the physical demands of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and highly competitive NCAA D-III soccer. Joe’s accurate, long throw-ins in the final third are an added weapon to our attack,” Blumenthal said.
Carman had five goals in 2015 as the team’s starting right backer with 18 shutouts and three assists. Last year, he suffered an ankle injury that knocked him out of most of the season.
Salom has been a four-year varsity player and was named one of this year’s co-captains and has excellent speed to compliment his strong technical ability.
“Lethal in the attack, Harris has expanded his skills to include improved passing and even more unselfish play. Harris is revered by his teammates for his team first approach, team commitment, and leadership. Having earned significant interest from several NCAA D-III colleges, Harris chose Washington & Lee for its combination of academic and athletic opportunities and excellence,” Blumenthal said.
In 2014, Salom had five goals and an assist. The following year he became a starting right midfielder and scored five goals and had four assists. Last season, he finished with 13 goals and four assists and was the team’s leading scorer.
Salom chose W&L because of its academics and its strong soccer program. He plans to major in biology and feels his time on the field for Blacksburg has helped him in many ways.
“I’ve become a more versatile player and have learned some very good things about how I play and also some things I can work on to become a better player for when I continue playing in college,” he said.
Salom started playing soccer in the second grade and then participated in the New River Soccer Association until he reached high school.
“Soccer has become part of my life and I plan on playing as long as my body allows me to,” he said.
His biggest goal on the field is to mentor the young players on the Blacksburg High School team and help them develop their soccer skills.
“I have also set a goal to win a state championship for my school and team since my time on the jayvee team and eighth grade year. Off the field, I want to make my educational experience at Washington and Lee as prosperous as possible and enjoy whatever career path I decide to pursue,” he concluded.
Carman chose Roanoke also for its outstanding soccer program and because they offer an engineering degree through a joint program with Virginia Tech.
Playing at Blacksburg, he said, he has learned to appreciate the game even more and to demand more of himself on the field.
Burch said he learned to love soccer and has been honored to have played for such a prestigious program and under such an inspiring coach.
He plans to major in business administration and a minor in communications.