The North Carolina Soccer Coaches Association has released its girls’ all-state soccer teams, and four area players made the cut.
Surry Central’s Tess Dockery was one of three girls from the Western Piedmont Conference to make the 2A team, while Bishop McGuinness had one player make the 1A list.
West Stokes won the 2A state title over the weekend, and the Lady Wildcats’ toughest 2A games this season came against conference rivals Surry Central and Forbush.
“The state of North Carolina has really seen how talented this conference is,” said Blake Roth, Lady Eagles assistant coach. The performance of these three teams caught the eyes of the Eastern coaches and earned the spots on the team.
Dockery is joined on the all-state team by West Stokes sophomore Morgan Snow and Forbush senior Madison Morsh. Bishop’s Samantha Walsh was the only Northwest player on the team.
Dockery, a 5-foot-3 senior, is usually the smallest player on the pitch — just like she was as the starting point guard on the basketball team — but simply outworks people to have success.
“She’s the type of player you don’t get to coach very often,” said Central head coach Matt Richardson. “People claim to give 100 percent and leave everything on the field, but she brings effort and aggression to a whole new level. You know what you’re going to get from her each night.”
Dockery finished her career by keeping her streak intact. She made the all-conference team all four years and also made the all-region team for four years. Now she adds an all-state honor.
“She is a full player,” said Richardson. She is great at everything: the touch on her passes, her dribbling, one-on-one defense and getting to all the 50/50 balls.
“Tess is the motor,” said Roth. “She can go, and will go, as long as you need, as much as you need her. It is 200 percent every time she’s out there.”
“She goes so hard for so long and does not ask to come out the the game, and will get mad if you take her out,” said Richardson. “Her cardiovascular endurance and mental drive, when you put all that together, you’ve got a wrecking ball who can play soccer.”
Roth said the running joke between the coaches was that Tess was never content.
“After she does something great, or after a win, she never looks happy,” Roth said. “We will tell her, ‘Tess, we won, you can smile now.’ She is the ultimate competitor. That’s one of the biggest compliments I can give her.”
“In nine years of coaching, I’ve never coached a girl — or boy — who is as much a competitor as she is,” he said. “She is never satisfied with herself, and she is going to go and compete every minute she’s out there.”
This year, Richardson needed Dockery to step back from the front line and passing out assists to scorer Haylee Harrison. Instead, she played defensive midfield, but never complained about being out of the spotlight.
“She embraced her role,” said Richardson. She wasn’t concerned with making scores herself; she just wanted to win.
“She’s a game-changer for us,” said Roth. “We’ll have to play a different style of soccer next year without her, and that’s gonna hurt bad.”
Richardson said it was a shame that more Division II schools didn’t recruit Tess. If they had just seen her play for one entire game, the scouts would have seen her value to a team, he said.
Off the field, Roth said, “She is one of the sweetest young ladies, absolutely brilliant. She not only deserves this accolade, but she will go very far in life.”
Tess is in the National Honor Society, science honor society and Mu Alpha Theta, the math honor society, noted Richardson.
She is planning to attend UNC-Charlotte next year and may join a club soccer team on campus, he said.
• Dockery wasn’t the only Eagle to be honored in the postseason awards.
Richardson nominated Roth for the assistant coach of the year, and Roth won the 2A award.
Richardson said he and Blake have coached a lot of games together since 2007.
Roth is head coach for the boys’ team, and Richardson is head coach for the girls, but they work side by side.
“We have a specific way that we do things,” said Richardson, and the titles aren’t that important.
“His contribution has been enormous in men’s and women’s soccer,” Richardson said of Roth. “We have our agreements and disagreements, but always with the best intentions for Surry Central.”
Two years ago, Roth nominated Richardson for the assistant coach of the year award for his help with the boys’ team, and Richardson won that honor.
Area coaches also picked up two of the four coaching honors for Region 9.
Bishop coach George Kennedy won the 1A all-region coaching honor, and West Stokes’ Chris Manley won the 2A award.