Boys Soccer Players of the Year

The Offensive and Defensive leaders for CHS Soccer

Cville’s Manuel Olvera and Alec Saidian play on the pitch earns them JR Soccer Players of the Year


Crawfordsville boys soccer continued their tradition of success this past fall. The Athenians once again were county champions and for the second time in the last three seasons, were Sagamore Conference champions. This year the Athenians faced adversity from the opening game of the season. Senior and leading goal scorer from last year Patrick Corado suffered a hamstring injury and was never really the same afterwards. That meant others had to step up and thankfully for CHS, they have plenty of talent to do just that.

Senior Manuel Olvera and junior goalie Alec Saidian were the anchors of both sides of the ball for Crawfordsville. Olvera ended the year with 23 goals while defensively, after losing key defenders from last season’s team, Saidian stepped up and held opposing offenses to just 1.75 goals per game.

Cville coach Marcus Hale saw both Olvera and Saidian step into leadership roles this past season and noted how both of them did anything and everything they were asked to do.

“Manuel did a great job of stepping up from a leadership perspective,” Hale said. “With it being his senior year that’s what we expected out of him. He did score 23 goals for us, but also was able to create so many other scoring opportunities for his team and for him I’m really happy that he was able to have such a great final season of high school soccer. Then you look at a player like Alec, his IQ of the game has grown quite a bit the last few years. He’s gotten used now to the varsity level of competition. He’s also someone who’s played in the off-season and that’s continued to elevate his level of play. He’s done a great job of communicating with our back line and really all of our players on the field.”

The duo for the Athenians led them to success and continued to carry on the great tradition that’s being built with the Athenian soccer program. For their efforts this past fall both Olvera and Saidian have earned the title of the 2023 Journal Review Boys Soccer Co-Players of the Year.

Olvera noted how the loss of Corado was difficult for the team at first but knew that he and his teammates were ready to lead the way for another successful season.

“Losing him and not having him at 100% this year wasn’t easy at first,” Olvera said. “All of us came together as a team and knew that we’d all have to step up to be successful. I think we did pretty well and I’m really proud of some of the freshman who played well when they were called upon. I never seen anything like it and they put in the hard work to help us all season long.”

Saidian stepped into the goalie role as a sophomore last year for Crawfordsville. He lowered his goals per game down from two a year. A game that sticks out the most to show what Saidian meant to CHS was a Saturday afternoon SAC battle with always tough Tri-West. Cville and the Bruins needed to go to penalty kicks to decide a winner. In the one vs one scenario, Saidian did his part and saved multiple Bruin PK attempts to help the Athenians pick up a key SAC win. Saidian stands 6’5 and uses his length and athleticism to his advantage.

“You’re going to have a say in the outcome of a game when you’re the goal-keeper,” Saidian said. “I know that I’m the last line of defense for my team and I feel like with my size and athleticism, I can use that to be able to dictate how the game goes. The way I’m able to see the field, I can put our team into good positions more often than not.”

Crawfordsville soccer’s record the last four season, when Olvera and the rest of this senior class came in as freshman is a very impressive 47-22-1. They’ve won at least 11 games each of those years with a pair of Sagamore Conference titles and a sectional title. They’ve made a lasting impact on the program and he knows that he and his fellow seniors have left the program in good hands and better than when they came in.

“Being a member of this program was amazing,” Olvera said. “Looking back on how far we’ve all come since our freshman year, we’ve grown so much. We owe a big thank you to all of our coaches. There’s pressure when you’ve had success like we have to continue to perform at a high level. We were always chasing championships and more often then not, all of our hard work paid off.”

That success and pressure will be transferred over to players like Saidian who will be back for his senior season along with a lot of key returners including Jaziel Gil-Herrera, Max Brumett, Colton Custer and Andrew Hurt just to name a few. Saidian knows it’s now his groups turn to lead.

“Every year as a class and as a individual you want to take a leap,” he said. “We as a team and myself are going to have to do that next year losing  a lot of these guys. We have a lot of young guys like Manuel said who are hungry and willing to rise to the occasion. I’m not too worried, because I know with all of our coaches and everyone buying in, we’ll be in good hands.”