Boys’ Soccer Player of the Season: Merrimack Valley’s Coby Mercier

  • Merrimack Valley senior Coby Mercier (left) battles with Bow’s Nate Dolder for the ball during a Sept. 27 game in Bow. Mercier finished the season with 19 goals and eight assists and is the Monitor Boys’ Soccer Player of the Season. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

  • Like he did for most of the season, Merrimack Valley senior Coby Mercier (11) draws a lot of attention from the Bow defense during a Sept. 27 game in Bow. Mercier finished the season with 19 goals and eight assists and is the Monitor Boys’ Soccer Player of the Season. RICH MIYARA file / NH Sports Photography

  • Merrimack Valley senior Coby Mercier (left) and Bow’s Matt Selleck tussle for the ball during a Sept. 27 game in Bow. Mercier finished the season with 19 goals and eight assists and is the Monitor Boys’ Soccer Player of the Season. RICH MIYARA / NH Sports Photography

Monitor staff
Published: 11/26/2019 10:38:47 PM

The Merrimack Valley boys’ soccer team didn’t need to hear the referee’s whistle to know a match was about to start. The Pride had Coby Mercier’s battle cry instead.

“Something I’ll always carry with me is after we would come together and I would give my spiel before the game starts, and Coby always does this loud, obnoxious scream, and he does it every single game right before we start and it’s, I don’t know, kind of like his call to battle,” MV coach Ken Fuller said.

“You just learned to understand that’s who Coby is and that’s his way to get himself into it and get in the zone and you can see other guys look for that. They knew when they heard that battle cry it was time to turn it on.”

The coach wasn’t the only Fuller who enjoyed the barbaric yawp from Mercier, the Monitor Boys’ Soccer Player of the Season.

“That’s just me firing myself up, and the rest of team always liked it,” Mercier said. “And Owen, the coach’s son, he would always holler, too.”

Mercier carried that pre-game intensity onto the field with him and led the Pride to a 10-6-1 record and the No. 6 seed in the D-II playoffs. He had a knack for taking whatever the defense gave him and finished the season with 19 goals and eight assists, both team highs.

“When teams gave him the space, he was a natural goal scorer. When he had two guys on him, he would look to make the pass or just be smart and keep the defenders away from other guys so they could find space and score,” Fuller said. “Usually it is pretty easy to pick out if a player is more of a goal scorer or a playmaker, but I feel like with him he changed that depending on what teams were throwing at him. And if we played a team twice, he knew before the game how he would have to change things up.”

Fuller said he didn’t need to tell Mercier which way to play. He figured that out all on his own.

“I always try to just do what was best for the team and make the right pass, or if it came to the point where scoring was what the team needed, then it’s nice to step up like that,” Mercier said.

Merrimack Valley did have a second excellent scoring option next to Mercier in senior Logan Cassin, who finished the year with 18 goals.

“With Coby and Logan up top, it was tough for teams to defend us,” Fuller said. “Coby created so many chances for other guys just by the people that had to constantly be looking over their shoulder to see where he was. Because if you left him open for a second, he’d make you pay. And he made others around him better just because he commanded so much attention from teams and they didn’t really know how to combat it.”

Mercier thinks operating in the two-striker system opened up avenues in both directions.

“Playing with Logan made it easier for me to score because he got a lot attention and it opened up space,” Mercier said. “We’ve been playing together for years, and we’re really good friends off the field, too.”

As a freshman, Mercier earned a starting spot in the midfield a few games into the season. He stayed in the midfield as a sophomore before moving to striker as junior, when he earned First Team Division II honors. The 2019 all-division teams haven’t been made public yet, but chances are good MV will be well represented.

“After talking to other coaches, it seemed like (Mercier and Cassin) were the best 1-2 punch for strikers in our division,” Fuller said.

That belief was backed up on Tuesday when the 2019 all-division teams were released and both Mercier and Cassin were First Team D-II selections. Pride defender Ryan Schoffield received Honorable Mention.

More than just positions changed for Mercier during his four years in Merrimack Valley’s soccer program.

“I’ve seen him grow as a leader, and how he handles himself,” Fuller said. “And whatever happened in the game, he was always wondering how he can get better it, it was never good enough, because he feels like he can constantly improve. He’s a kid that will call me up in the middle of the summer to ask if he can come by and pick up the soccer balls to go out and shoot for hours just by himself.”

Fuller deserves some credit for that growth. Just ask Mercier, who made a point of mentioning his coach.

“I just wanted to stress how important he was to meand our team and that he was one of the best coaches and mentors my teammates and I ever had,” Mercier said. “He was very knowledgeable about soccer and everything on that end, but in terms of being a friend and another father figure of sorts to our whole team, he was awesome.

“Personally, I was disappointed that we could never take him farther in the playoffs (the Pride has lost in the first round for three straight years) because he really deserved it.”

Mercier is also an outstanding lacrosse player and he was a First Team D-II boys’ lax midfielder for the Pride last spring, helping the Pride to an 11-5 record and a spot in the quarterfinals. He can’t really say which sport he likes more, or which one he’ll play at the next level.

“Honestly, it depends on the time of year and which sport I’m playing more at the time,” Mercier said. “I would really love to play both in college, but it would be a lot.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20)



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