In the city known for its place in American history, Sam Spirk made history of his own.
On Saturday at Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, Spirk became the first Wilmington High School soccer player to be honored as a high school All-American. One of 67 high school boys in the country to be named to the 2017 United Soccer Coaches Association All-America team, Spirk took in the honor with his family and WHS assistant coach Luca Terrigno.
“I went up on stage and they announced my name and school,” said Spirk. “The high school All-Americans were last out of youth and all college boys and girls All-Americans.”
Spirk said each All-America player received a scarf, a medal and had a photograph taken on the stage with a professional player.
“It was incredible,” Spirk said. “I had so many emotions going on and it was a very humbling experience.”
On the pitch, Spirk is a cool customer. In front of a convention center full of soccer players and fans, he wasn’t so calm.
“I was very nervous when I was about to go on stage and it was just a dream come true to be there representing my school and my family,” he said. “I felt humbled and just so grateful for this opportunity to be there.”
Spirk said he knew a few of the 13 Ohio-based players who were there as All-America players.
“I played with a couple in the Southwest all-star game and a couple I knew their names and club (teams),” he said.
En route to the convention, Spirk and his family stopped in Hershey to tour Chocolate World. In Philadelphia, they visited the Liberty Bell, the Rocky statue and steps made famous by Sylvester Stallone in the movie, and, of course, ate cheese steak sandwiches.
“We did all the essentials,” said Spirk.
They also visited the birth place of the Declaration of Independence.
“We saw everything historically (significant) in Philadelphia,” he said.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports