The Wilde Lake boys’ and girls’ soccer teams went bowling together in late October at Main Event in Columbia to celebrate both teams reaching the state semifinals.
Ousman Touray, a tall and slender junior forward for the boys’ team, had never bowled before, so the hesitant goal scorer sat out the first game. But after some encouragement from Trevor and Megan Shea, siblings who coach the respective boys’ and girls’ teams, Touray elected to give it a try.
“So,” Touray asked, “what am I supposed to do?”
Trevor and Megan demonstrated the proper form without the ball and told him to aim for the arrows in the middle that were halfway down the lane. Touray turned back toward the pins, lined up like he was taking a free kick, and let it loose. He bowled a strike.
“See, Ouzy,” Trevor Shea said, “I knew you could do it. You’re a stud.”
Seeing Touray, the 2019 Howard County Times/Columbia Flier boys’ soccer Player of the Year and Baltimore Sun All-Metro Player of the Year, deliver a strike wasn’t a surprise to Trevor. Seemingly everything he touched this year turned to gold.
“His form just gets more natural the more he plays,” Trevor Shea said. “Soccer and bowling.”
Playing his first year of varsity soccer for Wilde Lake, Touray’s arrival was the key missing piece for a team that had been knocking on the door in recent years.
He exploded on the scene and carried the Wildecats to their first region and 3A state title since 1997 — six years before he was born — by scoring a county-best 23 goals and assisting five more. Touray scored the biggest goals imaginable for a high school player: the game-tying goal against Huntingtown in the state quarterfinals; the tying and winning goals 10 minutes apart in the second half of a 2-1 state semifinal win against Mt. Hebron; and none was bigger than his overtime strike against two-time defending state champion C. Milton Wright to win the 3A state title.
The lasting image from that state championship game will be Touray celebrating by racing down the sideline, swinging his jersey high over his head.
When asked if he understood the gravity of his accomplishments, Touray simply couldn’t find the words to put it into context. He just shrugged and said that while he was watching the girls team play in the final an hour later, he thought to himself, “Wow, I still can’t believe that we won.”
“I don’t think he really completely understands fully yet how much he did accomplish,” Trevor said. “He’s just come so far in this last year.”
Touray’s journey spans continents. Born in Silver Spring, Touray first learned to play soccer in The Republic of Gambia, a small country in West Africa. He spent each summer there for about a decade with his older brother, Assan, and his father until his father’s tragic death from a heart attack in 2017. He missed half a year of school and didn’t play soccer that season, forcing him to start again as a sophomore in 2018.
The game is different in Africa, Touray said. As a striker, he didn’t learn how to move off the ball until he played organized soccer locally.
“It was hard. We had to train in the sand,” he said. “A lot of fitness. ... People didn’t care where you’re from, they’re super aggressive.”
One thing he did acquire there, however, was his ability to hit the ball hard. It was one of the first things Shea noticed when Touray — who spent his freshman year in 2016 at Long Reach and was “too scared” when he played a few games on varsity before ultimately being put back on the JV team — attended Wilde Lake tryouts in 2018.
“Clearly he was the tallest kid out there. He had the long limbs, but he hit a true shot,” Shea said. “I saw him hit a couple balls — and he was left-footed and left-footed players always stick in your mind — to see the rotation of his shot, he hit it well with his laces. I just kind of thought this kid, we can work with, but he didn’t have the most polished of skills.”
Touray played for the Wildecats’ JV squad last year and led the team in goals by a wide margin. He admitted he still didn’t think he was ready physically for the varsity level until he spent the following offseason training with his uncle and cousins in Gaithersburg.
“They’re all bigger and faster than me,” Touray said.
His first taste of varsity wearing the green and yellow couldn’t have gone better. He scored in his first game, a 5-1 win against La Plata, and then broke out for four goals and an assist in an 8-4 win over Dundalk later that day at the Oakland Mills tournament.
“I realized it was going to be hard,” Touray said. “(Teams) are going to try to double-team me but I was fine with it because it gets my wingers open and have an open shot.”
He didn’t slow down from there, regardless of any double teams. A 2-0 setback against Howard in the first county game was answered by Wilde Lake’s breakthrough 6-0 win against Atholton in which Touray scored a hat trick. During a six-game span against Hammond, Reservoir, River Hill, Marriotts Ridge, Mt. Hebron and Glenelg, Touray scored 11 goals and had at least two tallies in four of them. He scored at least once in each game.
He scored both goals, including the game-winner in overtime, in a 2-1 win against River Hill on Oct. 5 to hand the county champion-Hawks their first loss of the year. It was that win that gave Wilde Lake the belief it could do something special.
“We just knew a little about him,” River Hill coach Matt Shagogue said. “We knew he had pace, we knew he had length, we knew kind of what we wanted to do, and he beat us. I mean, he was very, very good, and I distinctly remember how he beat us.”
Touray was certainly on everyone’s radar by that point in the season, and though he didn’t have as big an impact when the Wildecats beat the Hawks again in the region final, he gained the admiration of Shagogue, who followed the rest of his playoff run.
“What I noticed the further along they went — I watched the state finals on the livestream — he finds really good space. He doesn’t just go and chase the ball; he reads the game really well,” Shagogue said. “And, you know, I felt like it just a matter of time if C.M. Wright didn’t score that he was going to find an area. Wilde Lake turns C.M. Wright over, and Ousman seemed to be almost on the backside of the left back, kind of anticipated, boom, he gets it, and the kid doesn’t waste any touches on the ball once he gets in the final third. He attacks and he’s fast and he’s a gifted finisher.
“... He doesn’t miss many opportunities, and if he does, consider yourself lucky.”
Touray’s 23 goals this season were the most for any county player since Marriotts Ridge’s Mike Glazer had 25 in 2010. Yet, Touray still has another year to improve. He said he’d like to get better with his right foot — the one he scored in the state final with — and to get faster and stronger.
Shea agreed, though he’d take Touray having as good a year as this one. Any coach would.
“I hope he can do the same thing next year,” Shea said.
Also named to the first team:
Bryson Baker, Centennial, junior.
A speedy forward with a strong ability to finish, Baker was the Eagles’ top scorer with 15 of the team’s 31 overall goals this fall. Baker had a successful JV career but took the next step for a Centennial team that was third in the league in scoring.
“Bryson was an incredibly important player for us this year,” Eagles coach Justin Thomas said. “He set the tone and brought hard work, energy and enthusiasm into every practice session as one of our team captains. In games he was our most dangerous player.”
Centennial was one of two teams to beat River Hill this season, a 2-1 win on Oct. 15, and Baker scored the game-tying goal.
“He struck it with his off foot, which silenced some of our guys that get on him about only using his dominant foot,” Thomas said.
Baker, who also had hat tricks against Marriotts Ridge and Atholton to go along with two goals against Reservoir, finished the season with the second-most points (33) in the county.
Alex Krause, River Hill, senior.
Krause played his first two high school seasons for an academy but immediately stepped in as a junior and became a difference maker for the Hawks.
“Alex was consistent,” River Hill coach Matt Shagogue said. “I always knew what I was going to get from him. He brought a hard-nosed, tough, bruising center-forward mentality to every game. He is extremely positive and fiercely competitive.”
Krause led the county in goals (15) and points (39) last year, and while he netted nine goals and had 24 points this fall, his impact was still significant. Sturdy on his feet, he regularly drew multiple defenders high up the field and was a threat to score every time he touched the ball. He had three goals and two assists against Long Reach and two goals against South River and Oakland Mills.
“Alex will be remembered as a very good player, positive influence on others, and most importantly a great teammate,” Shagogue said.
Isaac Owusu, Hammond, junior.
Any team that played Hammond this fall knew the key to slowing down the Golden Bears was to slow down Osusu. The second-year varsity player scored in nine different games and had 12 of Hammond’s 25 goals this fall. He only had four games where he failed to register a point.
“His match contributions were all in the final third by way of streaking runs, silky touches past defenders and calm finishes,” said Golden Bears coach David Reamer. “Many players have off and on matches, but Isaac always seemed to be on. During training sessions, Isaac pushed himself and others to improve; often trying to take objectives to the next level.”
Owusu had a hat trick in a 4-0 win against Oakland Mills and both of Hammond’s goals against state-champion Wilde Lake. His 30 points were third-most in the county.
“Looking forward, expectations are high for next year, and there’s no doubt that Isaac will be a major contributor,” Reamer said.
Kevin Hernandez, Hammond, senior.
A four-year varsity player for the Golden Bears, Hernandez had his best season this fall. He facilitated the play in the midfield, and when Owusu scored it was often Hernandez that set him up.
“This was Kevin’s most impactful year for the team having provided great defensive cover to win balls and then the technical ability to evade players,” Reamer said. “Kevin also provided some intangible benefits, including a drive to play to his maximum and providing direction for some of the younger players. Kevin’s best asset is his ability to maneuver past players with ball, frustrating the opposing defense, before playing balls into the final third.”
Hernandez had goals against some of the better teams in the league — Marriotts Ridge, Oakland Mills and Howard — and finished the season with six tallies and five assists.
Mark Lee, Marriotts Ridge, senior.
There were few surprises when Lee took the field for the Mustangs. He was as consistent and technical as any player in the league and always had the ability to control the ball and set the pace of the game, which made him one of the most dangerous players to face.
“Mark was the axis that our team turned on,” Mustangs coach Quinn Khouri said. “His vision and passing ability from the center of the field was second to none, and his ability to strike the ball from anywhere always made him a dangerous player going forward.”
Lee, a four-year varsity starter, finished the year with eight goals and six assists, which tied him for seventh in the league with 22 points. He scored both goals in Marriotts Ridge’s 2-1 playoff win at Centennial, and he will play collegiately at Bloomsburg University.
“His legacy has been cemented as one of the most naturally-gifted players our program has had in years,” Khouri said.
Liam Nesbitt, Wilde Lake, junior.
Nesbitt is a third-generation standout for the Wildecats. The grandson of longtime Wilde Lake coach Dave Nesbitt, currently an assistant on the varsity team, and the son of Matt, who won a state title and was 1991 Howard County Co-Player of the Year, Liam stamped his own mark on the program this fall as one of the key pieces for the state-championship squad.
“Liam was our rock in the midfield, winning balls and distributing them forward,” Shea said. “He raises the bar for his teammates’ effort level and commitment to the team. His decision making in the midfield sets him apart from other players because he is always making the smart decision and also pushing the creative limit when deciding to open up the field.”
Nesbitt, a three-year varsity starter and two-year captain, had four goals, including the game-winner against Centennial and in the playoff win at River Hill, and five assists this season.
Robbie Ryerson, Howard, junior.
Another player who had big family shoes to fill, Ryerson, the son of Rob Ryerson, who won a state championship and was 1981 Howard County Player of the Year before becoming an All-American at UNLV, took a big leap this season and controlled the middle of the field for a Lions team that finished second in the county standings.
The three-year varsity starter had five goals and six assists for 16 points this season, but he also had a strong impact off the field with his positive attitude that Lions coach Nils Schroder said was “his number one attribute.”
“Robbie has been an impact player for us ever since his freshman year,” he added. “Robbie has had a lot of signature moments this season and he has an engine that never allows him to quit and he is never out of a play.”
Ryerson had both goals in a 2-1 win against Centennial — one of which he beat three or four defenders — and assisted on both goals versus Glenelg, which Schroder said did everything it could to stop him.
Julian Elguera, River Hill, senior.
A forward who led the team in scoring on JV as a freshman in 2016, Elguera transitioned to center back for the playoff run as a sophomore.
“I wanted him to learn the position and compete for a starting spot the following fall,” Shagogue said. “Julian, without hesitation, took to it and became one of the best defenders in the league.”
Elguera was a tall defender who excelled at defending one-on-one and was strong in the air. He took all of River Hill’s penalty kicks this season — he led all county defenders with eight goals — and was on the ball for set pieces.
“Julian is a hard-working kid. He works hard and wants to improve every day. He’s a special kid who is only scratching the surface of his potential,” Shagogue said. “He is a classic example of a kid who played JV for two years, improved each year, and then flourished at the varsity level. He worked hard, waited patiently for his opportunity, and then never looked back. He will be a model to reference each and every year.”
Denzel Pinyin, Wilde Lake, senior.
Pinyin started as a freshman and sophomore at forward for the Wildecats before transferring to McDonogh for his junior season. However, he returned this fall and was “mature, selfless and trusting,” and he moved to a center defensive-midfield role, where he “became a dominant presence in the middle of the pitch,” Shea said.
Though he had just one goal and an assist for the season, Shea said opposing coaches that scouted Wilde Lake would instantly comment about how well Pinyin controlled the defense.
“He was a ball-winner all over the field, which stats can't justify his contributions to the team,” Shea said. “Denzel would consistently start transition counter attacks by shutting down the opposing team’s forward. He could win balls in the air and on the ground, making him an ever-present albatross lurking in the attacking player’s minds. Attacking players would make bad touches or decisions just by the thought of him in the defense behind them.”
Nandu Saravanan, Mt. Hebron, senior.
Saravanan, a two-year varsity starter, was the leader of the Vikings’ defense and a team captain this season. Originally a center back, Mt. Hebron coach Mike Linsenmeyer moved him to right back and helped turn his and the team’s season around.
“Nandu was important to our team because he was the leader of our defense, offered great senior leadership, and was able to consistently stop the opposing team's attack,” Linsenmeyer said.
Linsenmeyer said Saravanan “put a ton of pressure on himself to be the perfect leader,” and was widely respected by his teammates.
“Nandu's legacy will be one of not giving up on a season,” Linsenmeyer added. “We had a horrible regular season and made a deep run in the playoffs largely because of the dedication of seniors like Nandu.”
Chris Sharkey, Howard, senior.
Sharkey was moved up to varsity at the end of his freshman year and started ever since. He was a consistent defender who always had a well-timed slide tackle and saved the back line from dangerous situations. He was also versatile, as he played all the positions of the defense over his three-plus year varsity career.
“Chris has anchored our defense for the last four years,” Schroder said “... He has been extremely coachable and is undeniably a great leader. Whatever was needed at any given time, he was always up for the challenge.”
While he had one goal and one assist, he had several hockey assists this year, as he had a dangerous throw-in that led to many of Howard’s goals.
“Shark would be in the back, calm, cool and collected and get us out of trouble,” Schroder said. “Chris' legacy is one of an extremely positive, coachable, kind player who is just as impressive off the field as he is on it.”
Gabriel Viteri, Wilde Lake, senior.
Viteri started as a left back on the varsity team as a sophomore but was asked by coach Shea to move to goalie for his junior year out of necessity. As the last line of defense, Viteri excelled, especially this season where he allowed just 11 goals and had eight shutouts. Two of those came in the playoffs and one was in the state championship game.
“He was the leader on defense. He was always a vocal leader,” Shea said. “He was familiar with what we were trying to do back there. I don’t think we have nearly as good of a record last year, and especially this year without him.”
Viteri’s best game came against River Hill in the region final. The Wildecats took a 2-0 lead and held off a relentless Hawks offense that pushed for the game-tying goal. He stopped two point-blank shots by Alex Krause and had another big stop on a corner kick in the second half.
“He was definitely the man of the match,” Shea said.
Neal Fyock, Glenelg Country, senior, forward
Joebel Gray, Wilde Lake, sophomore, forward
Kyle Harris, Howard, senior, forward
Jonah Stoutenborough, River Hill, junior, forward
Jeff Bruner, Howard, senior, midfield
Kaden Bryan, Marriotts Ridge, freshman, midfield
Elliott Keppler, Centennial, senior, midfield
Jimmy Linsenmeyer, Mt. Hebron, sophomore, midfield
Taylor Nelson, Oakland Mills, junior, midfield
Thomas Brinkley, Wilde Lake, senior, defense
Cameron Clairmont, River Hill, senior, defense
Jed Dixon, River Hill, junior, defense
Nathan Macek, Reservoir, sophomore, defense
Kamau Richardson, Atholton, senior, defense
Daniel Miranda, Oakland Mills, junior, goalkeeper
Colin Sutch, Howard, senior, goalkeeper
MIAA B CONFERENCE ALL-STAR
Neal Fyock, Glenelg Country, senior, forward
MIAA C CONFERENCE ALL-STAR
Grant Martin, Chapelgate, junior, defense
COACH OF THE YEAR
Trevor Shea, Wilde Lake
MAN OF THE YEAR
Tenny Fasosin, Marriotts Ridge, freshman
2019 Howard County Boys Soccer Final Standings
River Hill*: 9-2, 13-3; 65 goals for, 12 goals against
Howard: 8-2-1, 10-5-1; 27, 20
Wilde Lake^: 8-2-1, 15-3-1; 45, 17
Centennial: 7-3-1, 8-6-1; 31, 21
Marriotts Ridge: 6-4-1, 7-6-1; 25, 26
Oakland Mills: 5-4-2, 8-5-3; 20, 18
Mt. Hebron**: 4-5-2, 9-7-3; 24, 24
Reservoir: 4-6-1, 6-9-1; 22, 32
Hammond: 4-7-0, 6-10-0; 25, 45
Long Reach: 2-9-0, 2-11-0; 9, 38
Atholton: 1-7-3, 2-10-3; 10, 29
Glenelg: 1-8-2, 1-12-2; 10, 26
Glenelg Country School^^: 3-12-1, 6-12-1; 29, 42
Chapelgate#: 0-8-0, 0-8-0; 7, 41
^3A state champion
**3A state semifinalist
^^Competes in MIAA B Conference
#Competes in MIAA C Conference
Scoring leaders (min. 5 points)*
Name, School: Goals, Assists = Points
1. Ousman Touray, WL: 23, 3 = 49
2. Bryson Baker, C: 15, 3 = 33
3. Isaac Owusu, Ha: 12, 6 = 30
T4. William JR Asante, RH: 10, 5 = 25
T4. Jonah Stoutenborough, RH: 10, 5 = 25
6. Alex Krause, RH: 9, 6 = 24
T7. Neal Fyock, GCS: 8, 6 = 22
T7. Joebel Gray, WL: 7, 8 = 22
T7. Mark Lee, MR: 8, 6 = 22
10. Kyle Harris, Ho: 9, 2 = 20
T11. Jed Dixon, RH: 4, 11 = 19
T11. Jeff Fuentes, RH: 9, 1 = 19
T13. Julian Elguera, RH: 8, 1 = 17
T13. Etienne Frimprong, OM: 7, 3 = 17
T13. Kevin Hernandez, Ha: 6, 5 = 17
T16. Taylor Nelson, OM: 4, 8 = 16
T16. Matt Palmisano, GCS: 6, 4 = 16
T16. Robbie Ryerson, Ho: 5, 6 = 16
19. Elliott Keppler, C: 6, 2 = 14
T20. Liam Nesbitt, WL: 4, 5 = 13
T20. Gabe Bonilla, MH: 3, 6 = 12
T20. Kaden Bryan, MR: 5, 2 = 12
T23. Evan Kocsis, MH: 5, 1 = 11
T23. Joe Sircus, Ho: 4, 3 = 11
T25. Ryan Hartlove, Ho: 2, 6 = 10
T25. Steven Santos, OM: 4, 2 = 10
T25. Ethan Shulgold, WL: 3, 4 = 10
T25. Oliver Simpson, RH: 3, 4 = 10
T25. Jason Taylor, MH: 1, 8 = 10
30. Moyo Ariyo, GCS: 3, 3 = 9
T30. Kyle Eylanbekov, WL: 1, 7 = 9
T30. Kevin Salazar, C: 4, 1 = 9
33. Austin Weltz, RH: 2, 4 = 8
T34. Madewa Adeyemo, MR: 3, 1 = 7
T34. Jeff Bruner, Ho: 2, 3 = 7
T34. Cameron Clairmont, RH: 2, 3 = 7
T34. Aidan Edmonds, RH: 3, 1 = 7
T34. Geo Estrada, OM: 2, 3 = 7
T34. Jimmy Linsenmeyer, MH: 1, 5 = 7
T34. Liam McCaffery, MH: 2, 3 = 7
T41. William SR Asante, RH: 2, 2 = 6
T41. Henry Caplan, RH: 2, 2 = 6
T41. Ryan Clemons, GCS: 3, 0 = 6
T41. Ian Higgins, G: 2, 2 = 6
T41. Baei Hei, Ha: 1, 4 = 6
T41. Evan Mavronis, G: 2, 2 = 6
T41. Lewis Hollander, MH: 1, 4 = 6
T41. Brandon Sindui, Ha: 2, 2 = 6
T49. Josh Martins, A: 2, 1 = 5
T49 Aadam Rahman, MH: 2, 1 = 5
T49 Daniel Tobar, MH: 2, 1 = 5
Name, School: Saves, GA, Save %
Daniel Miranda, OM: 114, 13, .90
Paul Russell, C: 152, 14, .90
Eric Gesell, RH: 39, 10, .80
Colin Sutch, Ho: 54, 14, .79
Noah Tajalli, G: 90, 26, .78
Zach Sloan, MR: 78, 24, .76
Brandon Eschman, Ha: 76, N/A, N/A
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*Stats not provided by all teams