There are usually three things that happen when Syracuse forward Kyle Coffee gets the ball on his foot.
He attracts a crowd, the field opens up for his teammates and he will celebrate a goal.
It happens almost every time.
The Class 5A leader in goals scored with 11 already has had a season in just five games.
"His biggest strength is his creativity," Syracuse coach Todd Schwartz said. "When he gets the ball on his foot, it’s amazing what he can do. He can get through double teams and take you one-on-one. He attracts so much attention from the defense that he creates an open field for our other players. He’s helping those players around him be better."
Those who have followed Coffee’s career at not surprised he’s emerging as one of the state’s top offensive players.
He started playing club soccer at age 7 and played with the Utah Olympic Development from 2007 to 2012, which included a training session that took place in England in December of last year.
Coffee made an immediate impact with Syracuse, starting as a freshman and leading the team in scoring with 10 goals as a sophomore last year.
Schwartz knew Coffee would be a crucial part of the team’s offense this season, but in the process of improving his striking ability, he added another important aspect to his game.
"The biggest change this year is the way he’s stepped up to be a leader," Schwartz said. "He didn’t voice his opinion much last year, but this year he’s stepped up as a team captain and been a leader. There have been times at halftime when he’s given the speech."
Coffee could have been leading the entire state in scoring had he not suffered an ankle injury that has kept him out for the last three games.
"I’m just feeling good," Coffee said. "I’m getting to the goal and finishing my chances. It’s just working out. I think getting in behind the defense — and now my dribbling skills have gotten a lot better — and I’m doing a better job in getting off my shot."
Coffee should be back on the field next week, and while he hopes to continue one trend, he would like to reverse another.
"I hope I can keep my average of 2.0 goals per game and score as much as possible," Coffee said. "We’ve been getting better every game. I’m just hoping after spring break we will be able to turn it around for the rest of the year."
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