Senior soccer players and lifelong friends commit to John Carroll

Growing up, Jack Samuelson wanted to play like Lionel Messi. Matthew Fiume looked up to the legend Gennaro Gattuso. Mikey Burrington just wanted to be his brother. All three boys, however, are bonded through one common factor—their love of soccer, an age old sport. Now, as high school seniors, they share one more component—spots on the University of John Carroll’s men’s soccer team next year.

    “I always wanted to play in college, but didn’t expect to play with Matt and Jack,” Burrington said.

    Burrington, who’s credited with selecting the university first, chose the school his role model (brother Matt) attends. However, both Fiume and Samuelson agreed that John Carroll was the place for them. With a great business school and opportunity to play soccer, they all jumped at the chance.

    “We didn’t plan on it but after I visited I really liked it and then I heard that Matt and Mikey were both looking at the school,” Samuelson said. “My club coach is also a coach there and told me about the soccer team at JCU.”

     The three hail from different middle schools, yet began their high school athletic careers together freshman year and have since been awarded with captain titles and varsity letters, as well as selection for NCL and All-District teams. Their journey now comes full-circle, as they will continue on as teammates for the Blue Streaks.

    “It has been my goal for a long time to play in college,” Fiume said. “It’s going to be pretty cool playing with Mikey and Jack.”

    Fiume, who attended St. Hilary, has received honors such as First-Team NCL, Second-Team NCL, Second-Team All-District, Defender of the Year, team captain, 2016 NCL Champs, four year letterman and D1 Senior All-Star in his Hoban career. Burrington obtained Freshmen of the Year, most goals Sophomore year, Second-Team NCL, varsity captain, senior year most goals and senior year First-Team All-District, and Samuelson has earned two NCL Second-Team nominations, an All-District Honorable Mention and varsity captain. Their combined efforts helped the boys team to a 2016 NCL Championship, and under their leadership, finished the 2017 season with a 12-4-2 record.

    But now at the collegiate level, the seniors realize how playing for the Blue Streaks will differ from playing for the Knights.

    “The college game will be a lot faster and a lot more physical. College players are all going to be very technical and have many strengths,” Samuelson said. “This time around we will all be competing for starting spots so that should be interesting,” Fiume added.

    Interesting, yet definitely exciting. All three displayed anticipation and eagerness for the season to start. While they admit the competition will be fierce, their combined talents will be a secret weapon for the Blue Streaks. As co-captains on the field and friends off, their chemistry will enhance the team’s game.

    “I am very excited to play another four years with Matt and Mikey,” Samuelson said. “Through our four years at Hoban we have become very close friends.”

    For now, the boys will await summer training and orientation. While their Hoban days are numbered, they have the pleasure of looking forward to collegiate soccer and many more memories together. Maybe one day they’ll become the next Messi, Gattuso and…Burrington.