BROWNS SUMMIT — Calvin Smith is about to embark on the next stage of his academic and athletic careers as he is about to head to Chowan and compete for the Hawks’ soccer team.
Last week, Smith, along with former Asheboro High School teammate Cristian Ortiz, saw first-hand what high-level soccer is all about as the two competed for the West in the East-West All-Star Game, dropping a nail-biting 2-1 decision at MacPherson Stadium at Bryan Park.
Smith and Ortiz saw the East get off to a quick start, scoring two goals in the game’s first 13 minutes, before a second-half goal off an assist from Smith pulled the West to within 2-1. But that was all the scoring, although there were plenty of things learned in the experience.
“In high school, you have players that are not really the best, but when we all showed up for this team, it was like everyone was good,” Smith said. “That’s what college is going to be about. Faster, stronger and it’s going to be the little things, all the preparation that will be the difference of getting on the field or not.”
Getting on the field was never a problem at AHS. He was named all-region and all-state after helping the Blue Comets to a 23-2-2 record. He earned conference and regional player of the year honors and was one of the top defensive players in the state.
“I was happy to be a part of it,” Smith said of the East-West Game as he and Ortiz were just the second and third to ever represent AHS in the all-star event, joining Avery Robinson in 2013. “There were a lot of really good players. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the win, but we played a good game.”
The East tallied at the 3:49 mark on a goal from Jaden Reece and then added a second at the 13:15 mark for a 2-0 lead.
At the 69:10 mark, Smith looped a beautiful high-arching pass toward the left side of the goal that was tipped by Ali-An Qaq to Brock Gramann, who scored from about six yards away to cut the deficit to 2-1. That was all the scoring.
“I remember getting the ball out on the right side and their left back was closing down pretty much and I had to hit it over him,” Smith said. “I saw a couple of red shirts in the middle and I thought I would just get it to that area.”
The East finished with a 10-8 shot advantage, had a 3-1 edge in corner kicks and Smith was credited with one shot.
Ortiz, who is not playing collegiately, said it was fun to get back on the pitch.
“It was fun to be playing again, nothing too serious,” he said. “It was a good experience being surrounded by everyone who is as good as you are or better.”
Ortiz, who was all-state, all-region, all-conference and the league player of the year, scored 36 goals and added eight assists this past season for the Blue Comets.