CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Saint Anne's-Belfield senior goalkeeper, Cooper Allen, has been on the varsity soccer team all four years of high school.
Allen says balancing sports and academics is something he takes pride in with a 4.0 GPA.
Academics are not the only thing Cooper Allen has had to balance through four years of high school.
The senior had to learn to lead as the soccer team's starting goalie.
"Interestingly, that was probably my biggest flaw just coming back into the sport was learning to lead from the back thing in my head and being loud,” Allen said.
“I had to really work that into my play, especially because when I was a freshman, I was looking up to all these big seniors and having to really get my voice out there."
STAB head coach Rob Lane says Allen's improvement and leadership were big reasons the saints went from five wins four years ago to 11 and a state playoff berth this year.
"He brought that perspective of what it takes to have a team that is successful and he was able to communicate that to others and the level of commitment that is necessary,” Lane said.
“The level of focus. So he was always willing to set that example and kind of hold others accountable to that."
Allen has had plenty of practice leading during his high school career. He also pitches for the baseball team.
"Both pitching and being a keeper is a position that is both rewarded sometimes, but a lot of times you're the guy to lose the game,” Allen said.
“When that's in the back of your head, I think you have to be a special kind of athlete to be able to lead by example and stay cool, calm and collected."
But it won't be just his play on the field his coach will miss.
"More than missing him as a player, I'm going to miss him as a person, and as a student and what he brings to the school community as a whole,” Lane said.
“Just a really positive young man."