BRUNSWICK — Nick Felician knew what the No. 21 meant at Brunswick as a member of the Blue Devils soccer team the second he put it on as a freshman.
That Felician made the number formerly worn by Jesse Marinaro even greater is a testament in determination and grit.
The senior midfielder became Brunswick’s first All-American when the United Soccer Coaches announced its 2017 team. He’ll head to Philadelphia on Jan. 20 with his family to be honored along with college All-Americans at the 71st annual convention and luncheon.
USC is considered the national authority in soccer, so to be named an All-American is a feat in and of itself.
“The first time (Brunswick coach Ben Dotson) handed me the No. 21, he said, ‘A lot of goals have been scored in this jersey,’” Felician said. “That was big to me. It’s really special to be named an All-American. I’m really excited. It was my goal since last season. It feels cool that I accomplished it.”
Calm and cool is what Felician has been about during the Blue Devils’ back-to-back Greater Cleveland Conference title runs.
By keeping his head, Felician almost became automatic this season.
The Greater Akron District Player of the Year, didn’t just pass Marinaro on the all-time list at Brunswick, Felician became the bar from which future Blue Devils will measure themselves.
He leaves as the school’s career leader in points (142) and assists (34). He also holds Brunswick’s record for goals in a game (6), points in a game (13) and goals in a season (26) and finished his career with 54 goals.
“It shows the type of player he is,” Dotson said. “It shows the quality of player Brunswick is capable of producing. In terms of what he means to our team, his ability alone drove us to win a lot of games. Our record is a reflection of how well he played and how deserving he is of it.
“When Nick came in, he selected 21 for a reason. He very much wanted to do things better than Jesse Marinaro, who at that time was one of the two or three best players in school history. We have players on our team now that will want to be better than Nick. What he did will just drive our team forward.”
A two-time All-Gazette selection, Felician was a virtual lock for national honors when he led Medina County with 26 goals and 11 assists.
During his tenure, the Blue Devils accumulated a 46-10-15 mark and won back-to-back league crowns for the first time in school history.
As important as he was as a goal scorer, Felician’s leadership was All-American quality as well and will be what many of his underclassmen teammates hope to mirror in the years to come.
“He set me up for the start of my career here,” freshman midfielder Cole Parete said. “He was always there for the team. He’d speak words and use what he said and applied it in his actions and led our team.
“Everything the team stood for, he went out and did. Everything we needed, he would go out and produce. He was always there for the team and I respect him for that.”
Strongsville’s Vanessa DiNardo and Lauren Rakytiak made the girls team.
A complete list of the teams can be found at unitedsoccercoaches.org.
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.