Prep boys soccer: Brighton's Coffey eager to continue career at Portland
His final game in a Brighton uniform started sweet and ended bitter.
Senior forward Matt Coffey took a long pass near the top of the penalty box and chipped the ball over the goalkeeper into the back of the net on one touch to give his team a 1-0 lead early in the Class 5A state semifinal against Lehi in May.
With the game tied 2-2 after regulation and overtime, the teams went to a penalty-kick shootout. Coffey, who took the second of five penalty kicks, struck the ball across his body with his right foot toward the left post.
"We were confident in his ability to take and make the shot," Brighton coach Russ Boyer said. "His shot was on frame, but the keeper made a good save."
It was a disappointing end to a season that saw Coffey collect 12 goals and seven assists and be named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Utah. But it looks to be far from the end of a bright soccer career for the University of Portland commit.
"Portland is a really professional environment with amazing facilities and coaches," Coffey said.
The Pilots often draw more than 1,000 fans to their games and have ranked in the top 15 in attendance for 11 of the past 13 years at Merlo Field, their soccer-specific stadium.
"He's one of the most intelligent players I've ever coached," Boyer said. "But he's also very skilled with the ball. There are some plays that he's made that have been unbelievable, highlight-reel-type plays."
While Coffey said he is focused on what the next few years have in store for him at Portland, it's his mixture of intelligence and skill along with his ability to quickly move past his final high-school game that has others looking even further ahead.
"We're excited to see where he'll be playing in five to 10 years," Boyer said. "We're sure he'll still be playing professionally somewhere."