Named to the first team all-county squad are:
Jeff Kammerer, Marriotts Ridge. If not for his teammate Amir Najib's stellar campaign, Kammerer could have easily garnered Player of the Year honors this fall. As it was, he combined with Najib to create one of the best one-two offensive combos in Howard County boys soccer history.
With the Mustangs having graduated its top two scorers from last year — Nick Applegate and Brad Martinelli — there was some inherent pressure on Kammerer to fill the void. And, by more than doubling his goal and assist totals this fall, the talented senior was more than up to the task. He finished with 21 goals and 8 assists, ranking him second in the county. At one point during the year, he scored in 15 consecutive games. Game-winning goals in thrilling victories over Whitman and Reservoir were among the highlights.
Hans Kouame, Oakland Mills. In the open field there were few in the state faster and more skilled than Kouame, who wreaked havoc as the main guy up top for the Scorpions this fall. After making second-team all-county last year while compiling 19 points, Kouame more than doubled his offensive production as a senior.
He finished with 17 goals and eight assists for a total of 42 points, which placed him third among county public school players. Seven times he produced the game-winning goal and among his big performances was a multi-goal game in a regional championship victory over Southern that advanced Oakland Mills to the state semifinals for the first time in 10 years.
Jake Turney, River Hill. The Hawks' senior spent much of the season nursing injuries — ones that either limited him or kept him out of action altogether. But when he was on the field, there were few players better than the talented forward. His technical ability in space and strength in one-on-one situations gave opposing defenses fits.
He finished with six goals and six assists for a River Hill team that captured a share of the program's first county title since 2007. The great thing about Turney was that he gave the Hawks something tangible almost every time he was on the field, registering a goal or an assist in eight of the 12 contests in which he appeared. Turney will head to play at UNC-Wilmington next fall.
Max Dwyer, Centennial. A first-time all-county selection, the powerful Dwyer was the "fulcrum of the midfield" for the Eagles according to coach Jim Zehe. Having played alongside all-county player Peter Vorel and his older brother, Ian, as a junior midfielder, Dwyer was ready to assume a leadership role this fall.
He was a tremendous weapon on set pieces, taking the majority of the team's free kicks. Between those plays and his passing ability in the open field, Dwyer finished the year with seven assists to tie for sixth highest in the county in that category. He also added three goals to give him 13 points overall. A captain, Dwyer also doubled as one of the team's best defenders.
Mike Heitzmann, River Hill. Only a sophomore, Heitzmann is the only underclassmen on this year's all-county first team. With a great mix of speed and finishing ability, he not only improved on his 13 total points as a freshman but also ended up leading the co-county champion Hawks in scoring this fall. His 10 goals were fourth best in the county and his 21 points tied him for fifth overall.
Just as important as the number of goals, though, was when he got them. Heitzmann was responsible for the game-winning goal against Marriotts Ridge in overtime during the regular season and provided the game-tying goal in stoppage time against Reservoir in the playoffs. He scored a goal in eight of the team's last 13 games of the season.
Anand Pradeep, Mt. Hebron. For a Vikings team that improved its record this fall and advanced all the way to the region finals, having a senior leader like Pradeep went a long way. Described by his coach Mike Linsenmeyer as the "heart and soul" of Mt. Hebron's team, Pradeep was one of the county's best ball-winners in the air. Almost all of the Vikings long throws were designed to find the tall midfielder, who was masterful at flicking it on to his teammates.
Pradeep finished with two goals and six assists on the year, while also controlling play and distributing the ball in the midfield. Among the highlights was scoring a goal as part of the team's season-high five-goal outburst against Howard.
Heston Priestley, Centennial. As a second team all-county performer his junior year and the team's leading returning scorer this fall, there was an expectation that Priestley would become the face of the Eagles offense. It turns out the senior midfielder was more than ready for the role, as he improved his offensive numbers across the board. His nine goals and five assists were improvements in both categories and placed him fourth in the county in total points (23).
The great thing about Priestley, who served as a captain this year, was his versatility. Coach Jim Zehe said that he put his senior leader in literally every forward and midfield position at some point during the season depending on match-ups. Among the highlights for the honorable mention all-state pick was a two-goal effort in a 3-3 tie against Reservoir during the regular season.
Zach Riso, River Hill. The senior captain was the glue that pieced together a Hawks' squad that ranked among the top three county teams in goals scored (41 total) and goals against (10). A returning first-team player, Riso was actually tasked with more of a central midfield role this season and thus saw a slight drop in his scoring production. Still, he managed seven goals and six assists (20 points) to put him among the county's top 10 scorers.
On a River Hill team that registered 10 shutouts on its way to the program's first county and region titles since 2007, it was Riso's increased role on the other side of the ball though that really paid dividends. He was a huge key in the team's clearing and transition game and, at the same time, cemented himself as one of the area's most sound players with the ball at his feet.
Emilio Rodas, Reservoir. A repeat first-team selection, the versatile midfielder is a "born leader," according to his coach Reg Hahne. He seemed to always be around the ball for the Gators, whether he was winning possession and playing it ahead to the team's forwards, taking free kicks and corner kicks or finishing in front of the net. Rodas literally could do a little bit of everything.