Westminster coach Chuck Beaver knew he had something special in Tony Fiore three years ago when the sophomore played his way into the starting lineup. But it wasn't until this season that Beaver knew just how special a player Fiore was.
There wasn't a player in the county who had the ability to take over a game in as many ways as Fiore did.
Whether it be a through ball, a goal off a set piece or simply controlling the midfield, Fiore seemed to always be there for the Owls, who won Carroll County and Central Maryland Conference titles.
His seven goals and three assists led the county in scoring, but it was his versatility and steady influence that made him the overwhelming choice as The Baltimore Sun's 1992 boys soccer Player of the Year in Carroll County.
Liberty coach Lee Kestler paid Fiore the highest of compliment by simply saying, "No doubt, the kid's a player."
A lot of opposing coaches would agree and all are glad to see the midfielder graduating this year.
The same can't be said for Westminster's Beaver. "Do I have to give him up?" he asked.
Fiore was a three-year starter for the Owls. In his first two seasons, he played on the wing but was moved to the middle this year.
"Before we brought him up [as a sophomore], we wanted to make sure he could make an impact," Beaver said. "We felt he'd be more effective on the outside with his size. As he progressed, he got stronger and we knew it would be a waste not to have him in the middle. He showed quickly he could handle it."
Perhaps his biggest assets are his knowledge of the game and heads-up play. Beaver will tell you his players looked first to Fiore, and opposing coaches noticed as well.
"I got the impression he was looked on as a leader by his peers," Kestler said. "He had the ability to take advantage of the slightest of mistakes and make you pay."
A case in point came in a game against Frederick and resulted in one of Fiore's most memorable goals.
A Frederick foul just outside the 18-yard mark gave Westminster direct kick. The Frederick keeper got rid of the ball and walked back to his area. By the time he got there, the ball was in the net.
That was vintage Fiore.