Mainland senior Jack Sarkos to play in All-American game in Florida
(Originally published in The Press of Atlantic City on 11/26/2018)
Going back to his freshman year, Linwood resident Jack Sarkos had envisioned one day becoming the first soccer player out of Mainland Regional High School to make it to the All-American game.
This month, he accomplished his mission. He learned he would compete in the annual High School All-American Game, which will feature 38 of the top high school seniors in the country Saturday in Orlando, Florida.
“It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Sarkos said. “And I’m just excited to get there (and) play the game.”
Mainland’s star midfielder is one of only two boys from New Jersey who will play.
Though Sarkos is making history for his team, he is trying to reserve his excitement for the day he finally touches down in the Sunshine State.
“It’s one of those things where you just want to get there and take it all in and experience it,” he said.
Sarkos will leave for Orlando on Thursday. After settling into the hotel, he’ll be treated to a lunch with the other All-Americans. There also will be a team practice before the big game.
After the game, the teams will get together one last time for dinner. The next day, Sarkos will head back home with his family.
According to the 18-year-old, a national watch list is released at the start of every season for the best 300 to 400 players in the country. By mid-October, the list is cut to 160. Then, in early November, the final 38 players are notified they’ve made the roster.
Sarkos said he had to send updates to the selection committee throughout the season.
“I was super proud of him,” Mainland coach Chris Meade said. “In this area, you don’t see as much high school talent get to that level.”
The Mustangs finished 14-7 this fall behind Sarkos’ Cape-Atlantic League-leading 23 goals. He ended his high school career with 75, the most in program history.
Throughout the season, opposing teams seemed to have the same strategy.
“Any team that we’ve played, Jack has been the focal point for those teams,” Meade said. “(Their strategy) is, ‘How do you attack Mainland? Stop Sarkos.’”
Next fall, Sarkos will play for NCAA Division I Lehigh University.