Watching the ball soar overhead while running full speed, Sam Spirk bends his path to match the flight of the soccer ball.
As the ball hits the turf, Spirk’s foot is immediately in contact, settling the sphere as if it’s a natural part of his lower body.
From there, defenders and goalkeepers alike have had little chance of stopping the Wilmington High School scoring machine.
Spirk, a senior at WHS, finished his stellar career as a member of the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association Division II first team All-Ohio squad. He is one of 18 players on the Div. II team and the first Clinton County boys soccer player to earn such a distinction.
“Being All-Ohio means everything to me,” he said. “I have wanted it since I was in middle school and I am truly blessed to receive this honor. I wanted to be the first in the (WHS) boys soccer program to get All-Ohio and I couldn’t be happier. Without my teammates and the support of my coaches, I couldn’t have done it.”
Spirk, who wears jersey No. 7, had 37 goals in 2017, a WHS single season record, to lead the Hurricane to a district runnerup trophy.
“My teammates this year have been incredible,” said Spirk, son of Kathi Spirk and Steve Spirk, the women’s soccer coach at Wilmington College. “My teammates were a big part of my success especially Seth Gundlach who had (a school record number of) assists on the year, most of them to me. The team chemistry we all have together is a reflection of my success and our success as a team. We lose and win as a team.”
Spirk said he wants to play soccer in college but has yet to decide on program. His brothers, Jacob and Benny, both played soccer at Wilmington College for Bud Lewis. Benny will be a senior next season at WC.
Current WHS boys soccer coach Imad El-Macharrafie played soccer with Steve Spirk at Wilmington College in the 1970s.
“It’s nice to have a player, like Sam, on a different level that can rise above the rest,” El-Macharrafie said. “He has two weapons that, at the high school level, are very hard to defend. He has tremendous speed. He is probably the fastest player I have ever coached. And he has a tremendous desire to score and what makes him unique (with that) is he actually scores. A lot of players want to (score) but don’t so that’s big for him.”
Spirk posted a school record 117 goals and 61 assists in his WHS career. In addition to his 37 goals this season, Spirk scored 35 as a junior, 35 as a sophomore and 10 as a freshman. He had 9 assists this season, 23 as a junior, 17 as a sophomore and 12 as a freshman.
Over the course of his career, Spirk, as mentioned previously, had plenty of help from Gundlach. The two played in the recent Southwest District all-star game and led their team to a victory.
“Seth is without a doubt the best player I have ever played with and did so much for this (Wilmington) team’s success,” Spirk said. “He is the heart of this team and I couldn’t have done it without Seth.”
The 117 career goals lands Spirk in the unofficial OHSAA record book. He is tied for 22nd all time with two other players. The state’s all-time career leader is Calum Latham of Catholic Central, who scored 198 goals from 2008-2011.
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