Meet the players who earned first-team honors for Newsday's All-Long Island boys soccer team in 2017.
Long Island Player of the Year: Ben Hamilton, Center Moriches, F, Sr.
Ben Hamilton had one main thought before every game this season.
"I always go in with the feeling I need to score for us to win," Hamilton said, "and when I do, it always turns out good."
Good? How about perfect. Center Moriches went an unblemished 21-0 on its way to the 2017 state Class B boys soccer championship.
"It was unbelievable," said Hamilton of the Red Devils' amazing season. "It's really true."
Hamilton ended the year with a Long Island-best 40 goals to go with 21 assists and 61 points (also an LI-best). He closed his incredible high school career as Center Moriches' all-time leading goal scorer with 83.
Hamilton scored a point in every game, and scored at least a goal in 19 of his 21 games, this season. The forward had two or more goals 13 times, including a four-goal, one-assist performance in a 5-1 early-season win against Mattituck.
"What can't you say about Ben Hamilton? The kid is a winner," said Center Moriches coach Chris O'Brien after the Red Devils' 4-0 state final win, when Hamilton scored twice and added an assist. "Some coach on the next level will have the pleasure that I've had to be around a player, a kid, a person like him. He's just a marvelous young man, and he's going to do great things, not only in this game, but in the game of life, because he's just a winner."
Said Hamilton: "I can't ask for anything better."
Nassau Player of the Year: John C. Murphy, Chaminade, M, Sr.
The CHSAA MVP was a versatile player for the three-time state champs. "We needed a spark at midfield," Flyers coach Alvaro Phan said. "So we moved John there and he was able to come up big." Murphy had three goals and two assists, but brought even more to the Flyers.
"His leadership geared us to a great run," Phan said.
Chaminade went 13-1-1 in its last 15 games, including a third CHSAA state crown. Murphy sustained a serious cut above his right eye late in the title game, but later returned, according to Phan.
"He spoke to the trainer and said, 'O.K., I'm ready to go back in,' " said Phan, who added that Murphy received 40 stitches after the game. "It goes to show he has no fear, and that's the way he plays: no fear."
Eric Amaya, Center Moriches, M, Sr.
Alongside Ben Hamilton, Amaya was the engine that made the Red Devils run. Amaya had 16 goals and 10 assists for unbeaten, untied and state champ Center Moriches.
Matt Barbery, Half Hollow Hills East, D, Sr.
The Thunderbirds' do-it-all player saw time at defender, midfielder and forward with two goals and seven assists. "He's a natural talent," Hills East coach Tiziano Carcone said. "He's one of the best players in Suffolk, if not Long Island."
Matt Barresi, St. Anthony’s, D, Sr.
The anchor to the Friars' defense, Barresi added two goals and four assists for a team that allowed two goals in a game once all year. Barresi earned a scholarship to American University, where he will play soccer, Friars coach Don Corrao said.
Tim de Meij, Chaminade, MF, Sr.
One of the key players for the Flyers, de Meij had 10 goals and five assists. He also had the winning goal in Chaminade's 1-0 victory against rival St. Anthony's in the CHSAA championship game.
CJ Emmerich, Syosset, M, Sr.
Emmerich had the ability to take over any game. His confidence with the ball at his feet and ability to attack defenses earned him the Nassau Conference AA-II player of the year award. He had eight goals and was tied with a conference-best six assists.
Oscar Hernandez, Amityville, M, Sr.
One of the most talented players around, Hernandez was second on Long Island with 26 goals and 41 points. Hernandez, who also had 15 assists, set the Amityville single-season goal mark previously held by Ralph Forman III (21 goals in 1969).
Rob Leamey, St. Anthony’s, G, Sr.
The senior recorded nine of the Friars' 10 shutouts. St. Anthony's allowed just seven goals all year. The Friars had five games when they allowed one goal, and one game when they allowed a season-high two (a 2-2 tie vs. LaSalle Academy).
Tyler McElhinney, Jericho, GK, Sr.
McElhinney was second in Nassau with 10 shutouts for the Jayhawks (11-1-3). He also was spectacular with seven saves in the Nassau vs. Suffolk Exceptional Senior Classic all-star game on Nov. 15.
Leo Musacchia, Half Hollow Hills West, F, Sr.
The talented forward had 18 assists and 13 goals, including seven game-winners, this year. Musacchia, who spent time at forward and midfield, started 57 straight games. The three-year standout ended his career with 21 goals and 27 assists.
Giancarlo Vacca, Plainedge, D/M, Sr.
The holding midfielder was a four-year starter and two-time captain for the Red Devils, who tied a state record with just two goals allowed this season. "He does everything for us," coach Jason Cinelli said. "He was our best defender, our best offensive player and our best cover player."
Long Island Coach of the Year: Chris O’Brien, Center Moriches
The 21st-year coach and his staff guided the Red Devils to a perfect 21-0 record and their first state title since 2009. O'Brien has an overall record of 247-114-21 with six Suffolk titles and a pair of state crowns.
Nassau Coach of the Year: Paul Cutter, Garden City
Cutter led the Trojans to a 13-3-5 record, their first Nassau title since 1999 and first Long Island crown since 1996. The sixth-year coach started five sophomores. "Good enough to play," he said during the season, "old enough to start."
The All-Long Island second team
Carlos Ayala, Uniondale, F, Sr.
Billy Castoro, Garden City, D, Soph.
Shawn Coles, Hauppauge, F, Jr.
Matt Cozetti, Commack, F, Jr.
Fernando Hernandez, Whitman, F, Sr.
Kymani Hines, Amityville, F, Jr.
Luke Kasulke, Seaford, M, Sr.
Johnathan Mendoza-Yanes, Brentwood, F, Sr.
Ben Nacht, Half Hollow Hills West, G, Sr.
Chris Spalding, Glenn, G, Sr.
Stone Strongin, Hicksville, D, Jr. (pictured)
Sam Warne, Pierson/Bridgehampton, M, Sr.