Junior Elliot Cassutt named to 2011 All-America soccer team

Junior Elliot Cassutt playing in Southwest High School's Super Soccer Saturday on September 24, 2011.

Junior Elliot Cassutt playing in Southwest High School’s Super Soccer Saturday on September 24, 2011.

Maddie Colbert, Staff Writer

Being named All-American is one of the greatest honors a high school athlete can have. This year, junior and soccer player Elliot Cassutt was given this honor by being named to the 2011 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America Team.
Cassutt has been playing soccer for the past twelve and a half years. “I love it, just to put it simply,” said Cassutt, “it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever done.”
Originally, Cassutt started playing because of his older brother. Cassutt wanted to be just like his older brother. “I always try to be as good or better than him,” said Cassutt. So Cassutt’s parents helped him join a team, and the team lost every single game. He hated it. After every game, he wanted to quit, but his dad didn’t let him. Cassutt’s parents continue to support him playing soccer, now as a record-making player.
But being a record-making player isn’t easy. Most days, Cassutt ends up practicing for three hours, often times for two different teams. “It’s a big commitment,” said Cassutt. Playing that much soccer doesn’t leave a lot of time schoolwork or time for friends. “My social life definitely suffers,” laughed Cassutt.
But grades are very important to his family, so Cassutt has found a good balance of homework and soccer. “I really want to do soccer, but I really have to do school,” he stated.
Tamba Johnson has coached Cassutt for over seven years. What Johnson finds sets Cassutt apart is his focus, and his ability to remain calm. “He is always composed, no matter how many people are around him,” Johnson commented.
These last two years of playing soccer are years Cassutt certainly won’t forget. He broke the state scoring record in his sophomore year with 44 goals, and scored a game-winning hat trick against Southwest in the first match-up against the cross-town rivals this season. With his club team, Minnesota Thunder Academy (MTA), Cassutt traveled to Florida and played in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Showcase, where his team finished with a record of two wins and one loss.
This year, Cassutt was named an All-American soccer player. There are 78 boys players in the United States named to the team, and they are the top players in the country. This year, only nine juniors were named, and only two  were from Minnesota.
“I’m proud to have accomplished something so rare,” said Cassutt. What he hopes to be considered for the same honor next year, saying that being named All-American two years in a row would be “really fun and nice.” Cassutt continued, “I want to play in a way people remember.”
Johnson is very proud of his player. All-American is something many athletes strive for, and Cassutt achieved it. “He did the work,” said Johnson.
One of the biggest things that came out of winning All-American, Johnson points out, is that Cassutt has lots of options for college.
“[Soccer] is what the rest of my life is riding on,” said Cassutt. He has received many emails about playing college soccer, including Princeton University. “Playing professional would be the dream,” said Cassutt.
Which is why Cassutt would consider playing for his club team next fall instead of for playing for South. Playing for MTA would provide more opportunities for more exposure and scouts. If Cassutt can nail down a college where he can play soccer this summer, next year Cassutt would play for South.
“I’d rather play with South. At the end of the day, high school soccer is just fun. It’s why I started playing soccer in the first place.”