Kevin Kills the Competition

Kevin Contreras Leads the NVOT Soccer Team to the North Jersey Section 1 Finals
Courtesy of Ryan Sullivan
Courtesy of Ryan Sullivan

The score was 2-1 against Dover with the opportunity to move the team to the finals for the first time since 2017. With a minute left, Dover scored an equalizer to set the score at 2-2. However, what seemed to be a fatal blow turned out to be just a bump in the road, since with 11 seconds left, Kevin Contreras received a cross from Tsubasa Tomono and scored a goal to send Old Tappan to the state sectional finals. This would make OT’s sixth win in a row and add another notch to the high school career of Contreras. 

This season, he totaled 18 goals and 3 assists against tough opponents. Despite injuring his leg and missing a series of games, he still averaged one goal per game.

Courtesy of Takashi Matsumoto

Before becoming the scorer he is today, Contreras was a midfielder for his club team World Class FC. “As I grew up, I wanted to score more goals so I asked my coach if he could move me to forward, so I moved. And the rest is history,” he said. 

After Kevin’s talk with his coach, he was truly able to showcase his abilities as a striker. Varsity boys soccer coach Mark Torrie confirms, “Kevin has definitely been able to shoulder the attacking responsibilities associated with being the best striker on our team. As a junior, he went quiet for a stretch of games but as a senior, the only games he didn’t score in were the five games where he was out injured.” 

The continuous pressure of consistency has been the biggest challenge and motivator for Contreras, as he believes that just “one bad game can cause the whole team to lose.” To keep up his strong performances, Contreras relies on superstition, taping his wrist before every game and “sleeping early and not eating any junk food before the game.”

Coach Torrie confirms that Contreras “leads the line from the front and is not scared to assume responsibility for the team’s attacking prowess.” He has seen Contreras’s progress over the years and believes that “his work in the gym throughout the off-season added some mass” and “his heading improved over his 4 years.”

Even more interesting, Contreras lacked any playing experience with the rest of the soccer team until he reached high school, as he played with his own separate club team rather than at NVSC, the feeder program for the high school. Despite this limitation, Contreras was able to adapt to how the boys played and became very close with the entire team. His teammate Heewon Kiim, affirms how close Contreras got with the team, and even though this season marked the end of his and others on the soccer team’s playing careers, he hopes that, “Kevin’s [future] career is not filled with sad days like those and he goes to play beyond [high school].”

Combining both the chemistry shown by the Golden Knights and Contreras’s great performance, the team earned the Jerry Lewis Sportsmanship Award and was ranked 5th in North Jersey by VarsityAces. For Kevin’s amazing performance, he was awarded the BCBSCA 2023 All-Star award and Player of the Year, cementing his soccer legacy in Old Tappan. 

Despite leaving NVOT, Contreras says high school isn’t the end of his career, and plans to play during college to further his success.

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