Centerville hopes players’ experiences will lead Elks to state title

CENTERVILLE — The Centerville boys soccer team is back in the state finals for the first time since 2010. This season the Elks have a few players with a unique experience that could propel Centerville to their second state title.

Three players on Centerville’s soccer team have played at FC Cincinnati’s Academy prior to joining the Elks. The goal of the academy has been to help players pursue a professional career.

Centerville senior Jack Drabenstott said the academy and his hopes of going pro were the reasons he moved to the area. He explained that playing at the academy was different than playing for a high school.

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“You play club, you play academy, it’s more like you’re playing for a club team like Arsenal or Chelsea, or something like that. You play for your high school [and] it’s like you’re playing for America, like your national team,” Drabenstott said. “In one sense, it’s fun because you’re playing for your community.”

Drabenstott has dealt with some adversity. He tore his ACL in each knee, but has worked his way back to help lead the Elks to the state finals as the fifth ranked team in the country.

Drew Boettcher, Centerville senior, played at the academy during his sophomore year. He and Drabenstott said there is not a huge disparity, but the experience helped make a difference.

“I think the main thing is it helps bring the level up, just having people with that much more experience around the game,” Boettcher said.

While the academies help young talent pursue goals of a professional career, Jeff Monbeck, Centerville head coach, said high schools sports help young athletes become better all-around people.

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“I don’t want to try and compete with the academies. You can’t compete with what they have,” Monbeck said. “But I feel like when great players and great kids like we have here, Jack, Drew and Drew [Gaydosh]; they’re setting an example that you can be great, you can still go off and play college, but you can have a hell of a lot of fun doing it.”

Drabenstott and Boettcher lead Centerville in points and goals.

Drabenstott has already made the decision to continue his playing career for Army in West Point.

“I get an opportunity like that to serve my country and also study and play division one soccer, I’m not going to pass that up,” Drabenstott said.

The Elks are set to face off with St. Ignatius, who enter the title game as the top ranked team in the country. The team will leave Alumni Stadium Saturday a 2:45 p.m. and will drive down Franklin St. to Main St. The team is hoping people will line the route to help send them off to Columbus with plenty of support.

James Rider

James Rider

I was born in Virginia and have moved several times in my life as a member of an Air Force family. I've lived in Virginia, California, Germany, England, and Ohio. I graduated from Centerville High School and then went on to attend Ball State University where I graduated with a bachelor's degree.