Jeffrey Medina is Newsday's boys soccer player of the year
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When the idea was first brought up to Jeffrey Medina in the summer, he thought it was ludicrous. He was told by the coaches that Brentwood would play three defenders instead of the usual four since they had too many good attacking players up front.
It meant Medina had a huge responsibility that left the senior in a position where a slight mistake could result in a goal. Medina was more than up to the task.
Medina -- Newsday's Long Island Player of the Year in boys soccer -- was the anchor for a stout defense that permitted just eight goals in 23 games. He also was a member of the first-team All-Long Island team for the second straight season.
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"When the idea was given to us we looked at each other and thought it was crazy," Medina said. "We didn't get it at first. We stuck through it and actually it was a great idea."
Said Brentwood coach Ron Eden: "We couldn't have done that without someone who couldn't lock it down. One of the reasons we had so much success was because of Medina. He has a different gear. He's a lot quicker than people think. His soccer intelligence is really good."
The Stony Brook-bound Medina was named an All-American and played in the All-American game, which featured 40 of the top seniors in the country.
"It makes me feel good that coach has confidence in me," Medina said. "I had two great defenders with me. We stuck with the challenge. We had too many good forwards. I am glad he did it."
The only thing missing from the perfect senior season was a state title. Brentwood was 22-0 and ranked second in the country by the NSCAA going into the state championship game against Arlington and the Indians lost, 2-1.
It was not the ending Medina envisioned. He didn't offer any excuses following the loss despite a tough road the Indians endured. The picture of Medina sitting on a chair following the state championship game with an ice pack on his knee and a Band-Aid above his lip due to an elbow he received summed up the Indians' journey in the postseason.
Due to superstorm Sandy, the Indians played four games in four days in the Suffolk Class AA playoffs and won all four, including two overtime games, for their fifth consecutive county championship. The state title game was the seventh game in 10 days.
"At first, I said it wasn't a good season because we didn't win a state title," Medina said, "but at the end of the day we went 22-0 leading up to the championship game. In any sport, it's hard to go undefeated. I didn't want to make the excuse, but any time you play seven games in 10 days it is tough. We felt horrible and tired at the end. Unfortunately, we came up short."
In 44 games with Medina as the starter, Brentwood posted 31 shutouts. Medina barely played as a sophomore because there was so much talent on the roster that won a state championship.
"It motivated me," Medina said. "The 2010 team was great. Training with such amazing players made me a better player and I am thankful for that. With the help of my teammates and coaches I got to a high level. It doesn't stop here. I am hungry to work more in college to become a better player. I am honored that I received all these awards. Perfection is my goal and I am nowhere near it."
Said Eden: "He was so consistent. He never had a bad game. He's in a pressure situation with only two other defenders around him. If I didn't think he could handle it, I wouldn't have done it. He was a really good high school player. He will be an even better college player."