Boys soccer: Conant's Belcher earns Cook County All-Area Captain

  • Conant's Carson Belcher is the Captain of the Daily Herald's Cook County All-Area boys soccer team.

    Conant's Carson Belcher is the Captain of the Daily Herald's Cook County All-Area boys soccer team. Sandy Bressner/sbressner@shawmedia.com

  • Conant's Carson Belcher (11) scored 16 goals and had 12 assists this year.

      Conant's Carson Belcher (11) scored 16 goals and had 12 assists this year. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
By Mike Garofola
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/7/2022 9:57 AM

In the game of soccer, teams are loading up with big, strong and quick backlines in order to limit the chances their keeper will see during the course of an 80 minute contest.

So in the age of deep defending, with less space on the pitch available, it's the forward who is entrusted more than ever to unlock the opposition.

 

Carson Belcher is one of those players who did just that during the 2022 campaign to help Conant make a huge impact in the area. This senior earned All-State honors, and is the captain of the 2022 Daily Herald Cook County All-Area Soccer Team.

"I honestly do not know what to say," Belcher said. "It's a total surprise to be named the All-Area captain, and it comes as a total surprise to me when you consider all of the great players in and around our conference."

One day after his club fought back level with the No. 1 York Dukes at the Class 3A St. Charles East sectional, the Dukes' game-winner came in the 78th minute to dash the hopes of the Cougars of reaching the supersectionals.

"Carson (Hagler) got us back even at 2-2 with 20 minutes left, so it was a major disappointment to concede that late goal when we felt we had a great chance to win the sectional title and advance. But our effort was fantastic, and it doesn't in any way take away from a great season we had after a couple of really poor seasons," admitted Belcher, who speaks from experience.

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"We were awful last year. We were 2-16-1 (so) a lot of us made the commitment to do what we could to make this year our best in a long time, and for me, that meant in the gym every day to get bigger, strong, and faster. And playing on an elite Sockers FC club team, which included plenty of great players from both York and Fremd, who were first and second at state a year ago," said Belcher.

The MSL West POY and two-time all-MSL, all-sectional star excels with his trickery, close control, speed, balance as a two-footed player who can strike fear into the opposition with his goal scoring, and creativity.

"Carson is dynamic, and a game-changing forward, who is fast, skillful, and (with) each touch is a threat to get to goal," opines Cougars coach Jason Franco.

"Carson's ability to consistently threaten and unlock defenses has been one of the main reasons for our success this fall, and, as a player and captain, he has embraced the challenge of leading our team to one of the best years in program history."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Cougars were a dazzling 20-5-1 overall this year, scoring 69 goals after just 23 a year ago, while claiming the prestigious Barrington Classic title, along with a regional championship.

"For this team to come back from we where we finished last season says a lot. And even though we lost a heartbreaker to York, it still will be year that I remember for a long time," said Belcher, who bagged 16 goals while adding another 12 helpers.

Belcher will look to play collegiate soccer, and has a handful of DIII programs giving him a look, as well as DII Purdue Northwest.

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