Kyle Parry has yet to find an assignment he considers to be beneath him during a Center Grove soccer match.
A four-year starter, the senior forward is the type of player who gives a rookie head coach like Jameson McLaughlin a variety of options.
“Right now he’s playing forward, but if I asked Kyle to play goal keeper he would. He is the ultimate team player,” said McLaughlin, whose seventh-ranked squad plays Franklin Central at the Class 2A Mt. Vernon Regional on Thursday.
“And he’s one of the best athletes I’ve seen in a long time.”
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With 12 goals this season, including one in the sectional title match on Saturday, a 5-0 victory over Whiteland, Parry trails only Conrad Bomber (17) in this category. Parry also is credited with four assists.
This from a young man who after suffering a cracked vertebrae during the summer, sat out Center Grove’s first five matches and played only five minutes in the team’s sixth game (a 1-0 win against Carmel).
This from a player who upon his return scored three goals in a 9-1 victory at Roncalli on Aug. 29 while wearing a back brace, which limits his hip movement. He’s worn the brace in every match this season.
Finally, this from a varsity veteran playing for his third head coach in four seasons.
Former Trojans coach Phil Orlando stepped down following the 2012 season, Parry’s freshman year. Todd Sheely was in charge for two seasons before moving on, and now it’s McLaughlin, who, like his predecessor, is a former Center Grove player.
“It’s been different for sure, but we’ve always just kind of adapted to what we’ve been dealt with,” Parry said.
“When Phil retired, Todd had already been the (CG) girls coach, and we knew him from previous years. So that transition was not too bad. When Todd left and Jameson came up, he had been the JV coach, and we had been around him. It was not a big change.”
Parry is one of five team captains this season, the others being Hayden Gorall, Jesse Sherman, Nathan Silva and Brian Wheeler. This quintet of seniors have played a major role in Center Grove holding a 47-8-3 record over the past three seasons, including one-goal losses at the Evansville Semistate each of the past two seasons.
Parry feels his soccer skills and maturity have grown extensively since debuting on varsity as a ninth-grader.
“I have a lot more confidence on the ball now. I think I’m more skilled on the ball, and I can find those slots to place balls through and to keep the ball moving at a higher pace than what I did,” he said.
“This being my senior year, I have taken on the role of being a leader. I’m pretty much out there to help and support players who might not be having their best game. And I’m out there to produce as many goals and chances for us to score as possible.”
Every one of the five senior captains has his own method of bringing younger teammates along.
“Kyle leads by example with his work ethic, practice habits and the fact he never complains. He gives 110 percent all of the time,” McLaughlin said.
Center Grove’s boys soccer program has won 13 regional titles, including four straight and nine since the 2000-2001 school year. Yet despite that, the Trojans have yet to win a semistate.
Parry believes this could be the season.
“We’ve got a lot of strong, talented seniors. We’re a deep team coming off the bench, as well. We just need to find that final piece and put goals away when we have the opportunity because we are a very talented team,” he said.
THE PARRY FILE
Name: Kyle Parry
Family: Parents, Bill and Julia; brother, Colin, 13
Favorite TV show: “Impractical Jokers”
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite movie: “Fast and Furious”
Favorite athlete: Peyton Manning
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts
Mt. Vernon vs. Roncalli, 5 p.m.
Center Grove vs. Franklin Central, 7 p.m.
Championship, 5 p.m.
Mt. Vernon Regional
Center Grove vs. Franklin Central, 5 p.m.
Perry Meridian vs. Mt. Vernon, 7 p.m.
Championship, 7 p.m.