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.
In Varina, one of the most anticipated events of the season is approaching. The 19th Annual Big Toy Parade will return on Dec 14, offering a “homey,” small-town feel that helps elicit holiday spirit among participants and spectators alike.
The parade, which begins at 3 p.m., is sponsored by the Battlefield Ruritans and Henrico County Parks and Recreation and is held in conjunction with the James River Boat Parade. It is led by a grand marshal along Old Osborne Turnpike and ends at the Osborne Boat Landing, where hundreds of community members gather to await nightfall and the arrival of lighted boats, concluding a festive holiday celebration. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 12/03/2013
The region's two premier youth soccer organizations – the Richmond Kickers and Richmond Strikers – have partnered to create Richmond United, a cost-free U.S. Soccer Development Academy program designed to serve the most talented players in the region. The arrangement marks the first time in U.S. Soccer Development Academy history that two member clubs have united their respective Academy programs.
Slated to begin play in the fall of 2014, Richmond United will field U13/14, U15/16 and U17/18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. The teams will train and play home games at two of the top soccer specific complexes in the nation, Ukrop Park and Striker Park. > Read more.
Photo by Roger Walk for the Henrico Citizen 11/24/2013
Henricus Historical Park has a new, messy guest. Eleanor, a rare five-month-old Tamworth pig, was donated this month to the Chesterfield park by the Chesterfield County Farm Bureau as part of an effort to enhance the living history museum's partnership with the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. Eleanor and her livestock pig and goat neighbors at the park will be a special attraction for the schoolchildren and others who visit the Henricus Historical Park. Eventually, she will triple from her current 150-pound weight and grow to about two feet tall. > Read more.
Eastern Henrico’s annual “Holiday on Parade” event is back tomorrow. Family-friendly activities will take place at various locations in the east end. The festivities will culminate with the 21st annual James River Parade of Lights. Also, several churches throughout the county are hosting holiday celebrations including West End Assembly of God, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church and The Gayton Kirk Presbyterian Church. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Estilo charms, with a stylish twist, in Henrico’s Near West End
If you're looking for something a little different from the standard, ho-hum restaurant experience, look no further than The Village shopping center. Among the recent success stories to put down roots in The Village is Estilo, created by the owners of the gastropub Toast (featured in a Feb. 21 review in the Citizen), only a few steps away.
Estilo – which translates to style – offers a taste of Peru, Chile and Bolivia, among other countries, and a menu that rotates regularly through the rest of Central and South America. > Read more.
Disney’s Frozen shines as an instant classic
Disney has spent the past few years in search of that certain something; that ‘Disney Magic.’ It’s been a slow process. From The Princess and the Frog to Tangled to Wreck-it Ralph, the studio took slow steps, welcoming its princesses and fairy tales and musical numbers back into the fold. Every film was an improvement on the last, but none of them had anywhere near the charm or lasting appeal of the early ‘90s highs of the “Disney Renaissance.”
Frozen, by far, is the House of Mouse’s best attempt at a new Little Mermaid. > Read more.
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