Tue Mar 22 09:07am EDT
Not all soccer goals are created equally. The following video, which comes from a tight CIF San Diego Sectional Division I quarterfinal, provides plenty proof of that.
The man who provided the mazy, nearly full-field run and double-backheel goal above is Poway (Calif.) High star Eric Budniewski, who finished the season with a truly impressive tally of 19 goals and 22 assists, all while playing predominantly along the Poway wings. For a winger to score 41 scores without starting every game as a striker, let alone to do so in one of the nation's harder soccer districts, is a heck of an accomplishment.
It's fair to say that none of those goals drew more accolades than the one he scored against Mira Mesa (Calif.) High in the San Diego sectional quarterfinal, which finished as a 3-1 victory for the Titans. On the goal in question, the junior picked up the ball around his own 25-yard-line (the only advantage of playing soccer on a "gridiron" football field is precise statistics, after all), used his speed to get through a gap between two Mira Mesa midfielders, then really turned on the jets to toast a right back who slid over to slow his run.
That's when Budniewski pulled off his first magical move, back-heeling the ball to himself to leave the defender who had tried to cover him a full two steps behind him. In an even more embarrassing moment for the Mira Mesa defense, he then pulled off the exact same move on one of the team's central defender, leaving himself with a clear, one-on-one shot on goal.
Naturally, after putting nearly 80 yards of good work, Budniewski was not about to blow that shot, tucking it to the right of a disconsolate Mira Mesa goalie.
While Budniewski and his teammates presented one of the nation's most talented teams -- they were ranked as high as number five in the nation at one point this winter by some polls -- Poway couldn't pull out a sectional title, falling in the sectional semifinals to Torrey Pines (Calif.) High. As one might expect, Budniewski scored in the semifinal, but the Falcons piled up five goals against the Poway defense, ending the team's state run.
Yet even that premature ending couldn't overshadow Budniewski's magical quarterfinal goal, nor the team's impressive 24-2-3 overall record.
"We set a school record with 24 wins," Poway coach Gene Morris told the North County Times. "I know the kids feel bad [after the loss to Torrey Pines], but they'll wake up tomorrow and feel better. They have nothing to be upset about."