The curtain rose on Terry McCormick's soccer career at Jesuit during his sophomore year. He scored 25 goals in a supporting role for the Class 5A champion.
But he was surrounded by exceptional talent and was not in the leading role.
He began to emerge as the go-to guy his junior year, but not until playoff time, when the true champions find the spotlight. During the playoffs, McCormick scored eight goals, including two last-minute game-winners.
This season he took the leading role head on, literally. His header with 5 seconds left in the semifinals against Riviera Beach Suncoast lifted the Tigers to a state championship over Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, in which McCormick scored all three Jesuit goals.
McCormick's heroics have earned the senior his second straight Times
Hillsborough County boys soccer Player of the Year honor. Jesuit coach Bob Bauman and Chamberlain's Denny McCaughey share the coach-of-the-year honors.
It could have been easy for McCormick to give up on the season. Knowing he was going to be a marked man, McCormick could have taken his baseball scholarship to Georgia Tech and not played soccer. He could have escaped all the injuries he had to endure, including playing with swollen ankles which led to a cast on his left ankle.
But that is not the mark of a champion.
"The biggest thing I looked at coming into the season was that I didn't want to go out as a loser," McCormick said. "You don't want to dwell on a bad performance. After going through last year's loss (to Clearwater Central Catholic in the state final) I didn't want to go through that again."
He didn't have to as he took on that responsibility.
"Terry has left his mark on the program," Bauman said. "I have come across alums that have congratulated me on the championship, but they always mention that McCormick must have been one heck of a player. Never has one player done so much for a team. We have had a tradition of great players here that have come up short for our program.
"But no player has single-handedly taken over a game or team the way he did. He wasn't going to be denied (in the final). I have never seen someone play with as much desire and intensity as Terry did in that game."
That final game would be McCormick's final act, as Georgia Tech does not have a soccer program. Baseball is the focus. Soccer will be just a memory.
But what memories.
A photo of McCormick's goal against Suncoast shows him outleaping a circle of five defenders to reach the ball.
The tape of the championship game still remains in the same spot in Bauman's VCR: Jesuit's second goal. Watching the third would mean Bauman would have to formely accept he will never see McCormick score another goal.
"I get choked up when I think about him not playing soccer anymore," Bauman said. "I just have a tremendous amount of respect for him and what he has accomplished here at Jesuit."
"Everything was worth it this year," McCormick said. "We kept going through a tough first half when it was not as fun because we were not winning. But I knew that when the playoffs came around, everyone would play harder."
All-county boys soccer
The All-Hillsborough County boys soccer team is selected by the Times in consultation with area coaches.
Player of the year: Terry McCormick, F, Jesuit.
Co-coaches of the year: Bob Bauman, Jesuit; Denny McCaughey, Chamberlain.
Player Pos. School
Terry McCormick F Jesuit
Chris Gatlyn F Bloomingdale
Jeff Foxenberger F Leto
Josh Kristowski F Tampa Catholic
Steve Gebhardt MF Jesuit
Erik Edwards D Bloomingdale
Jason Schmid D Gaither
George Aranoutakis D Berkeley Prep
John Quinn M Armwood
Brooks Einstein MF Berkeley Prep
Roy Swarts GK King
Player Pos. School
Angel Vazquez F King
Andrew Muzyk MF Jesuit
Jeff Agia MF Berkeley Prep
Brady Reardon MF Chamberlain
Jeremy Poklemba D Jesuit
John Marshburn D Berkeley Prep
Jack Toohey D King
Lance Ginn D/MF Plant City
Paul Scrivens F King
Brent Sobczak F Brandon
Brian Nager GK Chamberlain
Kevin McLaughlin GK Jesuit
Berkeley Prep: Tomas Espina, Will Baskett, Adam Eatroff; Bloomingdale: Justin Wilson, John Gustafson, Matt Lepley, Paul Sanders, Chip Atkins, Andy Carlton; Brandon: Mike Salvog; Chamberlain: Billy Locher, Aaron Fail, Eric Mendlin; Durant: David Anderson; East Bay: Justin Hann; Gaither: Yorgo Zoumberos, Adam Powell, Mike Sullivan, Jeff Thwaites; Hillsborough: DeSean Lewis; Jefferson: Ariel Hernandez; Jesuit: Bennet Walters; King: T.K. Kladis, Pat Toohey, A.J. Claycomb; Leto: Luis Herrera; Plant: Ben Campbell; Plant City: Gabe Salgado, Ben Edgeman; Robinson: Sam Pemberton; Tampa Catholic: Jean-Paul Blanco.