Burleson’s Cameron Gilbert has been chosen the most valuable player on the 2012 Liberty Hotel All-Johnson-County soccer team.
The 6-foot-2 senior was named the most valuable midfielder in the District 16-4A standings in his first season at the position instead of his usual role as defender.
He helped lead the Elks to a surprising run to the third round of the Class 4A playoffs.
“From the beginning, we were skeptical and didn’t know how far we would go,” he said. “We started off district play 0-4 and everyone was kind of down and I was frustrated. I’ve played my whole life and I couldn’t figure it out.
“[Head] Coach [Jeff Cross] sat us all down and told us we could either not improve and quit or we could control our own destiny.”
The Elks went on to win five of their next six games and clinched the fourth playoff spot in 16-4A. A 2-1 upset win over 15-4A champion Granbury was an “eye-opener” Gilbert said.
“We knew we could be pretty good when that happened,” he said.
Gilbert has committed to playing soccer at Dallas Baptist University next year. He said the county honor highlights a fun senior year.
“I was kind of surprised,” he said. “It’s awesome and it showed me what hard work can really do. To get the MVP award is just that much greater.”
Gilbert said his specialty is playing defense, but assuming the more offensive role of midfielder was a challenge.
“I’m usually on defense since I’m tall and I play rough,” he said. “They wanted me to switch with all the new players we had this year and that’s what I did. I definitely thought we went further than I originally expected.”
ALVARADO'S KELLYE OAKMAN: GIRLS' MVP
Alvarado junior Kellye Oakman has been named the most valuable player on the 2012 Liberty Hotel All-Johnson-County girls’ soccer team. The Oral Roberts’ commit helped lead the Alvarado Lady Indians to their third straight playoff berth.
She also received the MVP honor in the District 15-4A selections.
“It means a lot,” she said. “I’ve been playing soccer for a long time and I like to represent our school well and our girls’ sports.”
Oakman said she had to assume more of a leadership role this season for the young Lady Indians who lost 12 seniors after last season.
“I like that we keep making playoffs and things like that,” she said. “We doubted a lot at the first of this year and didn’t think we’d be able to replace our team. Myself, Emily [Howard] and Megan [Raburn] had take leadership roles.
“We were like team moms.”
A new coach in Ryan O’Donnell added to the different appearance of the Lady Indians in 2012. They finished in fourth place and lost to 16-4A champion Mansfield Summit in the first round of the playoffs.
Oakman said she plans to meet expectations for her senior season next year.
“I feel like I’m going to be like an assistant coach,” she joked. “We definitely have a goal to make the playoffs again, but we’re going to have harder teams. We’d like finish better in district so we can get farther.”
Stephenville and Kennedale replace Venus and Hillsboro next year in 15-4A play.
Oakman said she wants to keep her streak of being the team’s leading scorer intact for her final year.
“I’d like to do that,” she said. “We don’t get a whole lot of credit since our sport is soccer, but I like to represent us as well as I can.”