Simply the Best: 2023 All-County boys soccer teams announced

Published 5:12 pm Monday, June 12, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

Another exciting season of Shelby County soccer has come to an end, and now it’s time to honor the best of the best with the All-County teams.

Boys soccer is always one of the area’s marquee sports, and 2023 was no different with three teams making the Final Four in Huntsville: Oak Mountain, Calera and Westminster at Oak Mountain. Many other teams made deep runs into the playoffs and were stacked with talent that challenged the best teams in Alabama.

The year was also filled with storylines, from Calera making their first Final Four in school history to Westminster OM returning to Huntsville for the first time in four years. New stars made their names known with breakout seasons and the returning ones showed why they still have a bright future ahead of them.

Helping pick this team was one of the most difficult tasks yet, and it wasn’t for lack of talent. Each position group is absolutely loaded with North-South All-Stars, All-State and All-Metro selections and rising stars from many teams.

Everyone from the Player of the Year down to the Honorable Mentions deserve applause and recognition for having outstanding seasons, and I know there are future college and pro players from top to bottom on this roster.

That’s enough from me. Let’s dive into the rosters.


First Team:

Goalkeeper: Brock Marlow, junior, Chelsea. Marlow broke out and established himself as not just the top keeper in the county, but one of the best in the state. He took the Hornets to the state playoffs in Chelsea’s first season in 7A thanks to 92 saves on the season. He teamed with Chelsea’s talented backline to record nine clean sheets, including multiple against 7A and 6A opposition. Marlow will represent the North region in the annual North-South All-Star Game next month, and he also earned a First Team All-Metro selection.

Defender: Garrett Murphy, senior, Oak Mountain. The anchor of the Eagles backline that returned to the Final Four last month, Murphy helped Oak Mountain to an unbeaten area record and eleven shutouts in 2023. The best defenders also help move the ball forward and put pressure on the opposing goal, and Murphy did just that with four goals, two assists and 23 shots on goal. Murphy earned First Team All-7A and All-Metro selections as well as a spot on the All-State Second Team.

Defender: Alejandro Hernandez, senior, Pelham. The Panthers rode a rock-solid defense to the 6A state playoffs in 2023, and Alejandro Hernandez’s accolades are a key reason why. The Pelham co-captain made First Team All-State, All-6A and All-Metro, and was named the Birmingham Metro Defender of the Year. Ten shutouts, six goals and three assists helped the East Mississippi Community College-bound Hernandez claim top defender status.

Defender: Eusebio Hernandez, senior, Pelham. Hernandez was another key part of the Pelham backline, and the four-year starter earned a co-captain’s armband and was selected to the First Team All-State and All-6A and the All-Metro Honorable Mention list. He also set the AHSAA record for most assists in a game. Eusebio Hernandez will join Alejandro Hernandez at East Mississippi Community College next year.

Defender: Luke Miller, freshman, Chelsea. Miller may be a freshman, but this is already his second appearance on the All-County First Team after making it as an eighth grader last year. After setting a school record for interceptions last year, he led the team in tackles with 50 in 2023. He established himself as a threat at both ends of the pitch with 11 goals and 10 assists in his first season in 7A. He is one of the biggest names to watch in the state for the next three years, and if you don’t believe me, look at the First-Team All-State, All-7A and Second Team All-Metro, all of which include Miller as a freshman.

Midfielder: Om Shrestha, junior, Oak Mountain. Midfield was an especially stacked position for the area this year, but one name rose above them all. Shrestha, the 2023 Player of the Year, racked up 15 goals on just 26 shots on target and 3 assists during the season. His influence on Oak Mountain’s offense was unmistakable, and he earned spots on the North-South All-Star Team, First Team All-7A, Second Team All-State and First Team All-Metro.

Midfielder: Gus Colvin, senior, Indian Springs. Colvin went on a tear for Indian Springs to more than make up for the lost scoring from Jackson Nabors’ graduation. Colvin was an All-County First Team selection as a defender last season, and his switch to center-mid led to huge numbers: a county-leading 20 goals and three assists. His ability to play anywhere on the field will translate well to Pomona College next year in California, and he’ll take 2023 First Team All-State, All-6A and All-Metro accolades with him.

Midfielder: Matthias Leib, senior, Briarwood Christian. The Clemson signee reminded the area why he is one of the top players in the state one last time in 2023. He closed out his Lions career with 14 goals, five assists and selections to the Second Team All-State, First Team All-6A and First Team All-Metro.

Midfielder: Kaleb Bass, junior, Chelsea. Bass’ stellar season for the Hornets was a big reason why Chelsea made the 7A playoffs. He scored 12 goals and earned 15 assists, but he also contributed on the other side of the ball with 27 tackles won and 25 interceptions. The Chelsea captain’s contributions earned him First Team spots on the All-State, All-7A and All-Metro teams.

Forward: Aiden Gamble, sophomore, Westminster OM. Gamble did it all for the Knights’ offense to lead them to the Final Four. His well-balanced total of 15 goals and 13 assists is impressive, but the clutch spots he came up in were just as eye-catching: two goals and four assists in the playoffs and three game winning goals, including the winner over 6A Briarwood Christian in the biggest regular season win of the season. Gamble also made the All-1A-3A First Team and All-Metro Second Team as a sophomore.

Forward: Grant Walter, junior, Spain Park. Walter was the offensive key for the Jags as he led the team with 16 goals and 10 assists. The Second Team All-7A selection also made the All-Metro Second Team, showing that his stats are catching the eyes of coaches from around the state.

Forward: Aidan Riley, sophomore, Oak Mountain. Riley constantly put pressure on opposing defenses with 61 shots and 34 shots on goal, leading to five goals and nine assists. His performance on the Final Four Eagles squad earned him All-7A First Team, 2nd team All-Metro, and All-State Honorable Mention honors.

Forward: Radostin Richardson, senior, Pelham. Richardson’s strong campaign of 15 goals and 15 assists led to another playoff berth for Pelham, and the Southern Union bound striker earned spots on the All-Metro First Team, All-6A Second Team and All-State Honorable Mention list.


Second Team:

Goalkeeper: Raul Jacobo, junior, Pelham. Jacobo’s success in the net was a key reason why Pelham returned to the state playoffs in 2023. The Panthers keeper earned First Team All-6A and Second Team All-Metro honors thanks to his 84 saves, 10 clean sheets and average of less than a goal allowed per game with a .89 GAA.

Defender: Giovanni Hernandez, senior, Montevallo. Hernandez may have racked up 17 goals and six assists on offense, but it’s his contributions to the Bulldogs backline after switching positions from attack to defense that earned him state-wide acclaim in 2023. He led the defense to 10 shutouts and earned him a First Team All-4A spot and an All-State Honorable Mention.

Defender: Dani Bean, senior, Westminster OM. Bean contributed in big ways on both ends of the pitch for the Knights. While defending, opposing attackers only got past him five times all year, and he contributed to six shutouts. On the opposite end of the field, the First Team All-1A-3A selection scored five goals, including the game-winner against Collinsville in the quarterfinals to send Westminster OM to the Final Four for the first time since 2019.

Defender: Anthony Martinez, senior, Calera. The captain’s effort in the Eagles’ 10 clean sheets helped Calera reach their first Final Four in school history, but it wouldn’t have happened without Martinez scoring the game-winning penalty in the area championship as well.

Defender: Isaac Tindall, senior, Chelsea. The West Alabama-bound Hornets captain’s hustle and heart were crucial in Chelsea’s first 7A campaign. Tindall led the Hornets with 11 blocked shots while also winning 41 tackles and intercepting 47 balls to create extra possessions for Chelsea’s offense.

Midfielder: Matt Chaux, junior, Pelham. Chaux earned a North-South All-Star spot behind eight goals, two assists, a state playoff appearance and an All-6A Second Team selection.

Midfielder: Gabe Capocci, sophomore, Oak Mountain. 15 goals of 32 shots on target and nine assists gave the Eagles another offensive threat in Capocci en route to the Final Four. Capocci also earned a spot on the All-Metro Second Team and an All-State Honorable Mention.

Midfielder: Kevin Garcia, senior, Pelham. Garcia makes a repeat appearance on the All-County First Team after another successful season with the Panthers. The co-captain and West Alabama signee posted eight goals and 10 assists from the CDM position in 2023. His influence and impact for the Panthers midfield garnered recognition on the First Team All-6A and Second Team All-Metro.

Midfielder: Josh Owens, senior, Thompson. Owens earned an All-Metro First Team selection and an All-State Honorable Mention thanks to another solid campaign from the Warriors’ anchor in the midfield.

Forward: Andrew Teixeira, senior, Chelsea. Teixeira shone in his final season with the Hornets. Before going to Southern Union State Community College in the fall, he gave Chelsea 12 goals, 12 assists, 13 interceptions, and won 25 tackles. Teixeira earned Honorable Mentions on both the All-State and All-Metro lists.

Forward: Eugene Njoroge, senior, Calera. Njoroge played both forward and midfield for the Final Four Eagles and scored 13 Goals with seven assists. The Calera captain came up in the clutch when his team needed it the most with a two goal and two assist performance in the second round of the state playoffs against Northridge.

Forward: Reece Frost, sophomore, Briarwood Christian. Frost earned Second Team All-6A and All-Metro honors thanks to his four goals and nine assists in 2023.

Forward: Smith Craig, junior, Indian Springs. Craig took on the unenviable task of filling the Jackson Nabors-sized hole at the nine for Indian Springs and rose to the challenge. Craig netted 11 goals and added two assists in just his first season as a striker, commanding respect from teams around the area.


Honorable Mention: Erik Angel, Montevallo. Mason Drake, Calera. Grant Gurganus, Helena. Landon Tass, Spain Park. Lorenzo Garcia, Spain Park. Luke Jovanovich, Oak Mountain. Saif Ghabayen, Helena. Erik Ledvina, Indian Springs. Joshua Bramblett, Indian Springs. Tommy Grigsby, Shelby County. Alexis Lopez, Montevallo. Noah Holmes, Westminster OM. Davis Spencer, Chelsea. Grant Saether, Chelsea. Caleb Sipin, Spain Park. Donovan Huyhn, Spain Park. Jose Hernandez, Helena. Abe Ocana, Shelby County. Max Wever, Chelsea. Nate Joiner, Oak Mountain. Jack Warram, Spain Park. Irving Choto, Montevallo. Luis Robles, Helena. Austin Lewis, Helena.