The state of Ohio continues to produce high-quality high school boys soccer players who will put their talents on display this fall.

As a preview to this season, the high school sports staff of the Gannett Corp.’s more than 60 Ohio newspapers and websites compiled a who’s who of the Buckeye State’s prep boys soccer players.

This is the fourth in a four-part series that included football, volleyball and girls soccer.

Ohio’s best: The top 21 high school football players in 2021

Ohio’s best: The top 21 high school girls volleyball players in 2021

Ohio’s best: The top 21 high school girls soccer players in 2021

How they were ranked

Gannett staff members across the state researched and compiled a list of its respective area’s top players. Thirty-six players made the pool, and from there the staff chose its top 21. Players received points based on where they placed in the journalist’s rankings. First-place players received 21 points, second-place players got 20 and so on until the 21st player wrapped it up with 1 point. Those points were tabulated to determine the top 21 players. 

Here are the best boys soccer players in the state of Ohio:

1. Luciano Pechota, Cleveland St. Ignatius 

Ethan Corsi (6) of Jackson is slowed down by Luciano Pechota (11) of Saint Ignatius during their DI regional final at Jackson on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.The Repository / Scott Heckel

The senior midfielder was recently named United Soccer Coaches All-American and was first-team all-state in 2020. He was the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association Division I Player of the Year and Gatorade Ohio Boys Soccer Player of the Year after having 14 goals and 12 assists. He scored one each in the 4-1 state championship win over New Albany.

2. Parker Cameron, Olentangy Liberty 

Parker CameronSubmitted

A senior defender, Cameron was first-team all-state in Division I, Central District Player of the Year and first-team All-Ohio Capital Conference-Central. He scored only three goals last season but all were game-winners for the Patriots, who went 15-2-1 and were a district runner-up. Cameron is currently dealing with an injury. When he returns, he is expected to move around more freely in the offensive zone this season. He was recently named All-American by soccerwire.com.

3. Kameron Kist, New Albany

The midfielder enters his senior season as one of the Eagles’ anchors as they try to build on last year’s Division I state runner-up finish. Kist recorded 12 goals and 10 assists as a junior and was named second-team all-state, first-team all-district and Ohio Capital Conference Ohio Division Player of the Year. New Albany went 18-4-1 overall, losing to St. Ignatius 4-1 in the championship game.

New Albany’s Kameron Kist (1) celebrates after a 2-1 postseason win over Pickerington North at New Albany High School on November 4, 2020

New Albany’s Kameron Kist (1) celebrates after a 2-1 postseason win over Pickerington North at New Albany High School on November 4, 2020Alex Conrath, ThisWeek

4. Drew Boettcher, Centerville

The senior was first-team Greater Western Ohio Conference and second-team All-Ohio in 2020. Boettcher tied for the conference lead in goals with 19 and was second in total points (50), helping lead the Elks to a district championship and a trip to the regional finals.

Centerville's Drew Boettcher was second-team All-Ohio in 2020 after leading the GWOC in goals with 19 and helping lead the Elks to a district title.

Centerville’s Drew Boettcher was second-team All-Ohio in 2020 after leading the GWOC in goals with 19 and helping lead the Elks to a district title.Provided by Jeff Monbeck

5. Jayden Lunsford, Dublin Scioto

The senior midfielder/forward was second-team all-state in Division I, first-team all-district and earned a share of Ohio Capital Conference-Capital Player of the Year honors. He scored 16 goals with 12 assists.

He helped the Irish repeat as OCC champions as they went 5-0-2 in the OCC-Capital.

Scioto's Jayden Lunsford (left) heads the ball from Canal Winchester's Kylan Lewis on Sept. 15. Lunsford had a goal in a 2-0 victory over Westerville North on Oct. 13 as the Irish clinched the outright OCC-Capital title at 5-0-2.

6. Aidan Eck, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy 

The senior midfielder scored 13 goals and had four assists in 2020 as CVCA (7-4-4) was a Division II district runner-up and finished ranked No. 6 in the final Division II state coaches poll. He was selected to the first-team All-Ohio and All-District squads in Division II.

Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy's Aidan Eck was a first-team All-Ohio selection in Division II last season after scoring 13 goals and posting four assists.

Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy’s Aidan Eck was a first-team All-Ohio selection in Division II last season after scoring 13 goals and posting four assists.Provided by Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy athletics

7. Chase Alwood, Canal Winchester

The senior forward earned second-team All-Ohio honors in Division II as a junior at Carroll Bloom-Carroll after scoring 32 goals and notching 10 assists. Alwood scored five goals in a 7-1 victory over Fairfield Union to help the Bulldogs capture their fourth consecutive Mid-State League-Buckeye Division Championship. Alwood, who was named the 2020 Eagle-Gazette Boys Soccer Player of the Year, has transferred to Canal Winchester for his senior season.

Bloom-Carroll junior chase Alwood, who led his team in goals scored with more than 20 and helped lead the Bulldogs to a Mid-State League-Buckeye Division championship, is the 2020 Eagle-Gazette Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

8. Uleto Fuentes, Twinsburg 

The senior attacking center midfielder led Twinsburg to a 10-5-3 record with 10 goals and 10 assists. He was a first-team All-SLNC and all-district selection, and a second-team All-Ohio selection in Division I.

Twinsburg's Uleto Fuentes had 10 goals and 10 assists last year, earning second-team All-Ohio honors in Division I. Twinsburg finished 10-5-3.

Twinsburg’s Uleto Fuentes had 10 goals and 10 assists last year, earning second-team All-Ohio honors in Division I. Twinsburg finished 10-5-3.Provided by Twinsburg City School District

9. Mitchell Cosler, Beavercreek (tie) 

The senior midfielder was first-team Greater Western Ohio Conference and second-team All-Ohio in 2020. Cosler was fourth in the league in points (29) and third in assists (nine) to go with 10 goals. He helped lead Beavercreek to a conference title and a 16-1-2 record.

Mitchell Cosler had 10 goals and nine assists last season to help lead Beavercreek to a conference title and 16-1-2 record. The midfielder and team captain was named second-team All-Ohio.

Mitchell Cosler had 10 goals and nine assists last season to help lead Beavercreek to a conference title and 16-1-2 record. The midfielder and team captain was named second-team All-Ohio.Provided by Maria Cosler

9. Uche Odemena, Crew Academy (tie)  

The senior forward became the Pickerington North Panthers’ top offensive weapon as they started 10-0-1 and went on to win their second Division I district championship in three seasons. Odemena scored 15 goals and added seven assists as North finished 16-3-1, falling to New Albany 3-1 in a regional semifinal, and was named second-team all-state, first-team all-district and first-team All-Ohio Capital Conference-Ohio Division.

Odemena will play this season for Crew Academy.

Pickerington North's Uche Odemena (10) battles for the ball with Westland's Pato Rebollar (19) during the 1st half of their game at Pickerington High School North on Sept. 22, 2020.

Pickerington North’s Uche Odemena (10) battles for the ball with Westland’s Pato Rebollar (19) during the 1st half of their game at Pickerington High School North on Sept. 22, 2020.Kyle Robertson/Dispatch

11. Derrick Harris, New Albany 

Despite missing some of last season with an injury, Harris came up big at the most critical time of the year to help the Eagles to their first state tournament. The senior forward scored 11 goals, three of which came in district final and two regional tournament victories, and was named second-team all-state, first-team all-district and first-team All-Ohio Capital Conference-Ohio Division.

Harris’ older sister, Brooklyn, is playing at USC after a stellar but injury-shortened New Albany career in which she had 55 goals and 31 assists in just two seasons.

New Albany's Derrick Harris and Thomas Worthington's Caleb Opoku battle for possession during a Division I OHSAA Regional Final game Nov. 7, 2020, at Thomas Worthington High School in Worthington, Ohio.

New Albany’s Derrick Harris and Thomas Worthington’s Caleb Opoku battle for possession during a Division I OHSAA Regional Final game Nov. 7, 2020, at Thomas Worthington High School in Worthington, Ohio.Shane Flanigan, ThisWeek

12. Gabe O’Reilly, Columbus St. Charles

O’Reilly has played several roles for the Cardinals, which have won Division I district titles in three of the last four seasons.

The senior midfielder scored nine goals with six assists to lead a balanced scoring attack as he earned second-team all-state, first-team all-district and All-Central Catholic League. Coach Chris Vonau said, “He’s the whole package for the center of the pitch. He’s a center-mid but he can play anywhere. He’s so very flexible.”

St. Charles player Gabe O'Reilly controls the ball while being defended by Hilliard Davidson's Sam Holden at the St. Charles Preparatory School in Bexley, Ohio on September 10, 2020. The host Cardinals blanked the visiting Wildcats 2-0.

13. Andrew Shaffer, Columbus DeSales (tie)  

Coach Domenic Romanelli called Shaffer his team’s “go-to.” The senior midfielder led DeSales with 20 goals and two assists as the Stallions won their sixth Division II district championship in seven years and 24th overall. Shaffer, who had nine goals and 11 assists as a sophomore, was named second-team all-state, first-team all-district and first-team All-Central Catholic League.

DeSales went 10-9-1 and lost to eventual state runner-up Tipp City Tippecanoe in a regional semifinal.

DeSales' Andrew Shaffer leaps to kick the ball away from Tipp City Tippecanoe's Jonny Baileys (8) during a Division II regional semifinal Nov. 4, 2020, at Red Devil Stadium in Tipp City, Ohio.

DeSales’ Andrew Shaffer leaps to kick the ball away from Tipp City Tippecanoe’s Jonny Baileys (8) during a Division II regional semifinal Nov. 4, 2020, at Red Devil Stadium in Tipp City, Ohio.Shane Flanigan, ThisWeek

13. Gage Weaver, Ontario (tie)

Weaver proved to be one of the most versatile players in the state last season. After beginning the season as a goalkeeper and recording 27 saves, Weaver was moved to forward and totaled 23 goals and three assists for the remainder of the year. He led the Ontario Warriors to the district final where they fell to eventual regional finalist Lexington. The rising junior was a Division II second-team All-Ohioan, a Division II first-team all-district selection and a Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference first-team choice. 

Ontario's Gage Weaver had a huge hand in his team going 3-0 last week and grabbing all the momentum they need to keep pace in the MOAC title race.

Ontario’s Gage Weaver had a huge hand in his team going 3-0 last week and grabbing all the momentum they need to keep pace in the MOAC title race.Jake Furr/News Journal

15. Jayden Fuller, Norton 

Norton's Jayden Fuller

Norton’s Jayden FullerProvided by Norton Athletics

The senior forward was named the Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He was a second-team All-Ohio and first-team All-District selection in Division II after totaling 25 goals and 12 assists as a junior. He had four hat tricks in 2020 and has 63 goals and 34 assists in three seasons.

16. Mason Grudich, West Milton Milton-Union

Grudich was the co-player of the year in the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Buckeye Division in 2020 as a sophomore. He tied for the league lead in goals (28) and was third in points (65). The junior was second-team All-Ohio

Milton-Union's Mason Grudich was second-team All-Ohio and the co-player of the year in the Southwestern Buckeye League's Buckeye Division in 2020. He was tied for the league lead in goals with 28.

Milton-Union’s Mason Grudich was second-team All-Ohio and the co-player of the year in the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Buckeye Division in 2020. He was tied for the league lead in goals with 28.Provided by Greg Seevers Photography

17. Andrew Allsop, Findlay (DONE)

Allsop was a team captain last season for a Findlay team that finished 14-4-1, won a district championship and made a trip to the regional finals. Allsop was named second-team All-Ohio in Division I and to the United Soccer Coaches all-region team after scoring 24 goals and dishing out 14 assists.

Findlay's Andrew Allsop, pictured here with Pacesetter Soccer Club, was second-team All-Ohio in 2020.

Findlay’s Andrew Allsop, pictured here with Pacesetter Soccer Club, was second-team All-Ohio in 2020.Provided by Andrew Allsop

18. Jacob Miller, Lima Shawnee

Miller posted 24 goals and nine assists last season, helping lead Shawnee to the program’s first regional championship since 2001 and an outright Western Buckeye League title. He was named first-team All-Ohio in Division II. Miller enters his senior season with 25 career assists and a school-record 65 career goals.

Lima Shawnee's Jacob Miller was first-team All-Ohio in Division II after scoring 24 goals with nine assists.

Lima Shawnee’s Jacob Miller was first-team All-Ohio in Division II after scoring 24 goals with nine assists.Provided by Jason Miller

19. Trent Maisano, Columbus Watterson

Although Watterson went 4-10-4 last season, it was impossible to not notice this senior who plays forward and midfielder as the offense revolved around him. A 6-feet-2-inch, 182-pounder, Maisano was second-team all-state in Division II and first-team all-district and all-CCL. 

DeSales' Vigo Bertolo (left) and Watterson's Trent Maisano battle during the Stallions' 2-1 win Sept. 15. The teams met again Oct. 31 with a Division II district championship on the line.

DeSales’ Vigo Bertolo (left) and Watterson’s Trent Maisano battle during the Stallions’ 2-1 win Sept. 15. The teams met again Oct. 31 with a Division II district championship on the line.John Hulkenberg, ThisWeek

20. Trace Terry, Bellbrook

Terry was second-team All-Ohio as a junior in 2020, helping lead Bellbrook to a 13-5-1 record. Terry was second in the Southwestern Buckeye League in points (66), third in goals (26) and fourth in assists (14).

Bellbrook's Trace Terry was second in the Southwestern Buckeye League in points (66) in 2020. He was named second-team All-Ohio.

Bellbrook’s Trace Terry was second in the Southwestern Buckeye League in points (66) in 2020. He was named second-team All-Ohio.Provided by Nick Falzerano

21. Trey Vredeveld, Cincinnati Country Day

A second-team All-Ohio selection, Vredeveld led Cincinnati Country Day to 10 wins. He was limited to just seven games, scoring six times with a pair of assists. He was first-team all-league, as well.

Cincinnati Country Day's Trey Vredeveld was a second-team All-Ohio selection in 2020. He scored six times and had two assists in seven games.

Cincinnati Country Day’s Trey Vredeveld was a second-team All-Ohio selection in 2020. He scored six times and had two assists in seven games.Provided by Cincinnati Country Day Athletics

Honorable mention

Daniel Asiamah, Pickerington Central; Riley Carrier, Powell Olentangy Liberty; Will DeVere, Grandview Heights; Austin Driggs, New Concord John Glenn; Walker Frankhouse, Galion; Omar Gomez, Willard; Collen Gudorf, Casstown Miami East; Jackson Herbert, Wadsworth; Camden Herring, Plain City Jonathan Alder; Sawyer Hutchins, Granville; Henry Hutchinson, Westerville South; Wassim Metatla, Hilliard Darby; Gio Roberts, Hilliard Darby; Josh Sarver, Akron Hoban; R.J. Stoller, Thomas Worthington.

Working on this report were Michael Beaven, Shelby Dermer, Frank DiRenna, William Kosileski, Melanie Laughman, Dave Purpura, Jonah Rosenblum, Kurt Snyder and Jarrod Ulrey.

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Published
2:13 am UTC Aug. 20, 2021

Updated
2:14 am UTC Aug. 20, 2021