Canton’s Chris Murray named soccer All-AmericanBy Danny Joseph
When boys’ soccer head coach Danny Erickson gathered his team together before last Thursday’s practice, Chris Murray was totally unaware that he had just made Canton High history. Murray thought that perhaps the team would begin to breakdown their upcoming tournament opponent or go over a game plan. Instead, with his teammates gathered around him, he was told that he had been named an NSCAA Adidas All-American, the first in the program’s illustrious history.
“I was shocked,” said Murray. “It’s a tremendous honor, but obviously you don’t get recognized unless you’re part of a great team.”
As usual, the Bulldogs were just that — great. The team made yet another appearance in the south sectional semifinals this year, and capped off a 10-1-6 regular season with a Hockomock Classic Cup victory over Franklin. Since first stepping on the pitch as a freshman in 2007, Murray has compiled a staggering record of 58-6-15 as a member of the varsity soccer team.
“Chris has just been phenomenal over the course of his career,” said Erickson. “He is such a competitor. He plays every minute of every game, and he’s been our grit and our fight for four years.”
Noted by opponents for his fearsome throw-ins, Murray has also proved adept at controlling the game for the Bulldogs and keying their offensive attack.
“We will not be able to play the same way without Chris,” said Erickson. “He controls the game for us. He’s the quarterback of our team.”
In addition to controlling the game at midfield, Murray has proven himself to be an extremely dangerous scorer. He leaves Canton High with 18 career goals and 34 assists, good for second all-time on the Bulldogs’ scoring list, trailing only his head coach’s brother, Andy Erickson (class of ’91).
The Ericksons, however, are not the only family with an impressive Canton soccer legacy. Chris is the third Murray brother to achieve recognition for his outstanding play for the Bulldogs. His oldest brother, DJ (class of ’07), was Canton’s first ever All-New England selection and a Hockomock League MVP in 2006, while the middle Murray brother, Matt (class of ’09), was a two-time All-Hockomock selection, and has gone on to a successful playing career at Keene State.
“I started playing soccer because of my brothers,” said Chris. “I looked up to them, and because they were playing soccer, that’s what I wanted to do. When I started playing with them and other older kids it toughened me up and made me into a better player.”
“The All-American honor puts a cap on the Murray family legacy,” added Erickson. “It reflects what they have done over the past eight years for Canton soccer and is also a testament to the great success of our team.”
Of course, with such a talent-laden team, Murray was not the only Bulldog to attain postseason honors. Fellow senior captains Colby Gavigan and Scott Levy were named to the All-Hockomock team, as was senior Matt Kelly. Gavigan, a record-setting goalkeeper, was also named to the All-Eastern Mass. team, and Levy, this year’s leading scorer, was named All-State. Murray sees the pileup of postseason awards as a direct result of the winning formula at Canton High.
“Canton High soccer has had a lot of successes under Coach Erickson,” said Murray. “The tradition of excellence, expectation to work hard, and emphasis on listening to the coaches make the players that much more focused and determined.”
The class of 2012, perhaps the Bulldog’s most decorated soccer class ever, has remained a unit since they were growing up playing youth soccer on the fields of Canton. Both Murray and Erickson see the All-American award as something for the group to share and remember as they transition into college and beyond.
“The soccer class of 2012 has stuck together since they were little,” said Erickson. “I can’t say anything negative about this group; they’re true role models.”
Chris plans to play soccer in college, but is currently undecided on where that will be. What he does know is that the memories and experiences of playing Bulldog soccer will remain with him long after he leaves the halls of CHS.
“What Coach Erickson has taught me about the game will definitely carry on,” said Murray. “I’ll look back on the Canton website every week to see how the team is doing, and the things I learned at Canton High will always stick with me.”
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