Wheeling Park’s Coleman Meredith Selected As Player of the Year
Midfielder Scored 28 Goals and Added Eight Assists
WHEELING — When he was 3 years old, Coleman Meredith decided the sport of soccer was going to be one of his main priorities in life. And since then, a soccer ball has hardly left his side.
For four years, Meredith was a key component of the Wheeling Park boys soccer team and in his final year, he turned in his finest season.
Meredith, a midfielder for the Patriots netted 28 goals and dished out eight assists to lead the offense. With his impressive stats, Meredith was named West Virginia Boys Player of the Year as voted by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Meredith will be honored at the 74th Victory Awards Dinner on May 23 at the Embassy Suites in Charleston.
Max Trethewey (George Washington), Wil Swan (Charleston Catholic), Bubby Towns (Fairmont Senior), Jonas Branch (Fairmont Senior) and Riley Nett (University) were also considered for the honor.
“I’m very honored to receive it, but I have to thank my teammates first and foremost,” Meredith said. “I want to thank my coaches, (Wheeling Park assistant ) coach Bill (Konkle) and (Wheeling Park head) coach Mario (Julian). I wouldn’t be able to do it without my teammates this past season and teammates before. They all pushed me over the years to be the best I can. Number one, though, a state championship is what I wanted the most, but what happened with COVID and everything this season, it was sad to see. But I am very honored to receive Player of the Year. It’s been a huge goal of mind over these past four years and it’s a great way to cap off your senior year.”
The beginning of his senior year, was very much in doubt. With the coronavirus looming, even though fall sports were a go in West Virginia and Ohio, any day, could have been the last for the season. And if one was a senior, the last day of their prep career. Meredith made sure he didn’t take anything for granted.
“Beginning of the year, you went on the field knowing that it could quite honestly be your last game,” Meredith said. “I just thought I had to give everything I got and that was the mindset my teammates had too alongside of me. We took every game like it was our last.”
During the offseason and summer before his senior year, though, he did take advantage of every opportunity he could take, even during COVID.
Meredith knew if he wanted to be ready for his senior year and college, work would have to be put in. While he was conditioning and lifting daily, he also had a soccer ball by his side. Meredith would go to the field with his friends as much as he could. Every day, the mindset was to go out and play.
“He was very vocal, he encouraged the players and he led by example,” Julian said. “He worked the hardest in practice. He would stress to the players that they had to work hard because nobody expected us to be good because we lost as many players as we did. I think the team just followed him. Cole helped the other kids develop. There was a nice group around him, but he definitely kicked them in the butt to get them better quicker.”
With the hard work he put in, there was also motivation going into his senior season as well. Wheeling Park lost nine seniors from 2019 squad. The Patriots went 19-2-1 and also won the OVAC Class 5A championship before bowing out in the regional final. Even nine seniors, Meredith still had a stellar junior campaign. He recorded 18 goals and nine assists.
In 2020, Meredith was one of five seniors. But it was still deemed to be a rebuilding year for the Patriots. However, Meredith took it as a challenge. And did the Patriots succeed as they went 15-4-1.
“That was a huge motivation of ours. We saw it as everyone was looking over us and not seeing us as a threat in any way,” Meredith said. “My teammates and I took that challenge on. We knew it was going to be a tough battle to get to where we would be. That was probably going to be our biggest motivation going into this year.”
Although, the season didn’t end the way he and the Patriots wanted, Meredith, who will play collegiate soccer at Cedarville University, wouldn’t trade the memories he made over the past four years.
“I’ve been honored to be a part of such a great soccer program,” Meredith said. “My coaches, I’ve loved since the very first day. I knew both of them since I was in high school and I was very excited for it. Wheeling Park soccer… It’s not just playing soccer. I’ve grown so close to so many kids on the team. Those are honestly been my best friends in my four years of high school. I don’t know what I would do going to Wheeling Park without being on that soccer team. It’s like a family to me there. I talk to them on a daily basis. It’s just like family. I’ve grown some great relationships with some of them. I never knew them going into high school before, but now some of them are my best friends when it came to the end of it.”