Crawfordsville boys’ soccer coach Marcus Hale was awarded with a double treat to start the 2020 season.
The COVID-19 pandemic may have canceled the majority of summer workouts, but the Athenians returned a healthy roster with the addition of a scoring threat.
Not only did Emmett Bowman bring a scoring threat to the Sagamore Conference, but it allowed Crawfordsville’s best player to play in his most comfortable position.
While Bowman led the Athenians in goals with 16, it was senior Kevin Barrera who led the Athenians to a county title and second-place finish in the SAC with 41 points, which is the sixth-most in a season in Crawfordsville boys’ soccer history.
Barrera is the 2020 Journal Review Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year.
Crawfordsville posted a 12-4 record, losing to just Tri-West in the Sagamore Conference. A 7-win improvement from 2019 — largely in part to a healthier roster, including Barrera, who suffered an ankle injury in the early part of his junior season.
“It was the chemistry,” Barrera preached about his teammates. “We were all friends this year. Last year there were arguments and a lot of injuries. And those that got hurt were the base of the team. It was kind of a throwback to when I was in eighth-grade, with the same group except the freshmen.”
And Barrera was the leader of the 2020 team that featured talent from every class.
“Kevin demonstrated a number of key characteristics this year to allow the team to be successful,” Crawfordsville coach Marcus Hale said. “He demonstrated a high level of energy, unselfishness, commitment and leadership. Simply, he was a great role model for his teammates.
With the addition of Bowman, Barrera slid into a midfield position, leading the Athenians with 15 assists, which is the second most all-time in a single season, and 13 goals.
“We got new people like Emmett, who is a natural striker,” he said. “So when he came I was pretty relieved, because I was probably going to play forward, but I honestly don’t like playing forward. I like playing more mid, and playing mid (midfield) I was able to make more plays, and I like doing that. I was making plays and they were scoring.”
The Athenians scored 64 goals.
“Kevin’s unselfish play and the willingness to do whatever was needed for the team and to be successful,” Hale said. “He always talked to his teammates about putting in the work and eating right. He believed in everyone.”
In 2020 Barrera was named to the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association Top Team. His 29 career assists rank second all time in school history, his 93 points rank fourth all-time, and 32 goals are seventh in the rankings.
“Kevin has great individual skills, high soccer intelligence and multi-faceted,” Hale said. “Kevin’s lasting impact on the program will be recognized by his unselfishness and love for playing the game. Yes, he could score goals, but he was just as happy providing teammates with an assist to score ultimately leading to a win.”