By David Weissman, Special to the Citizen 05/24/12
Being named Gatorade Virginia Boys Soccer Player of the Year, maintaining a 4.79 weighted GPA and signing a National Letter of Intent to play soccer on an athletic scholarship at University of Virginia probably gives a high school student fair reason not to be humble, right? Wrong – at least for Todd Wharton, 18, of Deep Run High School.
“It meant a lot [to win the Gatorade award] because I know there’s a lot of good players in the state of Virginia,” Wharton said, “but I’m not interested in individual awards this year. It’s all about the team for me. I know it sounds cliche, but it is.”
Frank Ford, who serves as Wharton’s head coach at Deep Run HS, said his star player had worked hard his whole life and was incredibly humble.
“He’s been a coach’s dream as far as what you ask for,” Ford said.
With his high school team sitting at 14-1-1 and playoff games still remaining in his senior campaign, Wharton has already left his mark on the Deep Run record books.
Playing from his midfielder position, he has 34 goals and and 23 assists this season, while piling up 71 goals and 52 assists in his four-year career, making him Deep Run’s career leader in both categories.
“The guy is a playmaker, and he can score,” Ford said. “Just his vision and how he sees things, you can equate him to a chess player.
“A good chess player sees several moves in advance, while the world-class players can see like 19 steps ahead. He’s like the 19-steps-ahead kind of kid.”
Ford said Wharton also owned Deep Run’s single-season scoring and assists record, previously held by Brian Ownby, who currently plays for the Houston Dynamo in Major League Soccer (MLS). Ownby also played soccer at UVA, which is where Wharton will be headed this fall..
Wharton committed to the Cavaliers the August before his junior year, he said.
“UVA was always my first choice,” he said. “I didn’t really want to go that far away from home, and I know they have a great academic program there too, so it was really just an easy decision for me.”
Wharton’s had the “hype” since the start of his high school career, he said.
“I went to a few national camps at the end of eighth grade, but it’s definitely been a lot more the last two years,” he said. “It’s fun because a lot of people come up to me a congratulate me for things. A lot of people are happy for me; it makes my parents proud.”
For Ford, who’s been coaching Wharton for three years at Deep Run and in middle school before that, the most important factor in coaching a player of Wharton’s caliber is figuring out how to best use him, he said.
“You want to to get as much out of him as possible, and he’s the perfect player for that because of the way he plays,” Ford said. “He makes people better; he doesn’t just do everything himself. He’s made good players really good and made really good players great.”
Despite the team only suffering one loss (to Godwin HS in extra time) during the regular season, Deep Run is flying under the radar heading into the playoffs, Ford said.
“Everyone talks about Godwin and Cosby [high schools],” he said. “We’re kind of an afterthought for some reason. There comes a certain point in the season when you want your acknowledgement, so hopefully that time is coming for us.”
“We lost nine starters last year, so I feel like we’re doing well for having lost so many starters,” Wharton said. “I think we can make a good run in the playoffs.”
Wharton also plays for the Richmond Strikers and was named a 2011 Youth All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Playing for the Strikers was a lot different from high school, Wharton said, but he enjoyed it because his team played others from along the East Coast.
When he’s not playing competitively, Wharton works at his father’s soccer training facility, helping teach younger players.
The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.
Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.
Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.
At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.
Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.
The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.
Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.
It’s Halloween! Ghosts and goblins are everywhere…especially at Dorey Park’s Monster Mash and the annual Pumpkin Festival at Gayton Crossing Shopping Center. But don’t let the fun stop on the 31st – the Latin Ballet of Virginia will present El Dia de los Muertos Family Festival on Nov. 1. And if you need a break from the candy, enjoy some classical music at the University of Richmond and the Weinstein JCC on Sunday. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Urban Tavern’s big, bold themes impress
The Urban Tavern opened in August, replacing the former Shackelford’s space at 10498 Ridgefield Parkway in Short Pump. Because of local and longtime devotion to Shackleford’s, Urban Tavern has some big shoes to fill.
Without any background information, I headed to the restaurant for dinner on a Wednesday night, two months after its opening.
On a perfect fall evening, four out of eight outdoor tables were taken, giving the impression that the restaurant was busier than it was. On the inside, a couple tables were taken, and a few folks were seated at the bar. > Read more.
‘Alexander’ provides uncomplicated family fun
It’s not surprising in the least that Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day doesn’t much resemble the book it’s based upon.
Judith Viorst’s 1972 picture book isn’t exactly overflowing with movie-worthy material. Boy has bad day. Boy is informed that everyone has bad days sometimes. Then, the back cover.
In the film, the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad-ness is blown up to more extreme size. Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould) has a bum day every day, while the rest of his family (Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Dylan Minnette, Kerris Dorsey) exist in a constant bubble of perfection and cheery optimism – to the point that the family is so wrapped up in their own success that Alexander’s being ignored.
So on the eve of his 12th birthday, Alexander makes a wish: just once, he’d like his family to see things from his perspective; to experience the crushing disappointment of one of those no good, very bad days. Once he has blown out the candle on his pre-birthday ice cream sundae, his family’s fate is sealed: one full day of crippling disasters for all of them. > Read more.
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