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It has been two months since the Holy Cross soccer team capped a turbulent season by winning the CHSAA city title and finishing as the state runner-up to Chaminade, and Tamer Mohamed still cant believe it.
Who thought after all that, after a bad start to the season, it would end like that, Mohamed said. The way it ended was like a movie. Im really happy about the way it ended.
Because of the way the season ended, the way he led Holy Cross through an unlikely playoff run that included beating rival Archbishop Molloy in the city semifinals and defeating upstart Regis in the title match, Mohamed is the TimesLedger CHSAA Player of the Year.
Mohameds thoughts these days are squarely balanced between his future, which is at Division I Rutgers University, and the end of his high school career. The talented center midfielder, though, would probably like to forget the start of his senior year.
The ultra-talented Knights sorely underachieved for much of the season and Mohamed felt pressure to put the team on his shoulders and carry them out of the unusual rut.
I knew we had talent, but I just wanted the rest of the team to be aware of that, Mohamed said. They felt they should play me the ball all the time and let me do all the work. When I saw we were losing, I tried to take it on myself to do more to help the team win.
He felt an obligation to lead the team, which is what he did, said Holy Cross coach Dominic Cinelli. Early on, though, he tried to do a little too much.
Late in the season Holy Cross began to play better and it carried over to the playoffs, where the Knights defeated Fordham Prep, defending champion Molloy and finally Regis to win the city championship.
During the championship run, Mohamed took a back seat to teammates Eric DiFulvio and Ariel Castellanos, who scored against Fordham Prep and Molloy.
Although he struggled to score much of the year, Mohamed netted the championship-clincher in brilliant fashion, curling a left-footed shot from a tough angle 25 yards out inside the near post.
My main goal was to win the playoff games, especially the championship game, Mohamed said. If I didnt touch the ball and we won, I would have been as happy because we won.
After his official visit to Rutgers, which has some of the best soccer facilities in the Northeast, Mohamed committed to play for Bob Reasso over Connecticut, Boston University, Holy Cross and Lafayette.
I cant wait to get started, said Mohamed, a four-year member of the New York State Olympic Development Program. Its the best fit for me and my style but academics are the first reason.
Hes the full package, Cinelli said. Theres no end to what he can accomplish on the field.
©2003 Community Newspaper Group
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