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North St. Paul's Ata Claremond is Metro Player of the Year for boys' soccer

10/24/2016, 9:15pm CDT
By Ellis L. Williams, Star Tribune

The offensive maestro led the Polars with 38 goals and 16 assists.


North St. Paul junior forward Ata Claremond had 38 goals this season, helping him earn recognition as the Star Tribune's Metro Player of the Year. Photo by Richard Tsong-Taatarii/rtsong-taatarii@startribune.com

North St. Paul junior forward Ata Claremond can score from anywhere. Whether he beats everyone going coast to coast with the ball as his coach Casey Holm said he is known to do, or secures a cross pass and outmuscles defenders before scoring.

Claremond knows how to net goals, and it is Holm who often is faced with the task of trying to reel in his scoring machine in fear of running up scores.

“If I just let him go,” Holm said, “He would pretty much shatter the state record for goals in a season.”

Claremond also tends to cramp up late in games if Holm doesn’t manage his minutes. Between keeping the junior sensation healthy and avoiding backlash from opposing teams, Holm has his hands full most nights.

Despite only playing four complete games this season, Claremond scored 38 goals, including a goal in 14 consecutive games. In addition to his 16 assists, he helped the Polars to a 16-3 record.

His knack for the net and overall playmaking earned him Star Tribune boys’ soccer Metro Player of the Year.

Of the award, Claremond said he could not succeed without the support of his teammates and Holm’s guidance on and off the field.

Born in Haiti, Claremond first visited the United States in 2013. He attended the boys’ soccer state tournament and watched the Polars win a championship. A North St. Paul family adopted him later that year.
Since then, he has been determined to get the Polars back to the state tournament.

“That is my dream,” Claremond said. “To play in the state tournament and win a championship. We all want to win it.”

The past two seasons, Claremond almost achieved his dream, but back-to-back section final losses have kept him and the Polars out of state. Thursday they lost 2-1 to undefeated Stillwater, the top-ranked team in Class 2A.

Claremond gets one more shot next fall at holding a state championship trophy. He said he is going to keep working on a part of his game that is already considered elite.

Because in his mind, 38 goals wasn’t enough.

“I want to improve my scoring,” Claremond said. “I think I can score even more.”

Ellis L. Williams • 612-673-4689 • ellis.williams@startribune.com

Previous Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year

Year Player School
1987 Gerard Lagos St. Paul Academy
1988 Manuel Lagos St. Paul Academy
1989 Manuel Lagos St. Paul Academy
1990 Jeff Kogl Stillwater
1991 Matt Gerlach Burnsville
1992 Duncan Susee St. Paul Academy
1993 Leo Cullen St. Paul Academy
1994 Eric Otto St. Paul Academy
1995 Kareem Aal Minneapolis South
1996 Marshall Morehead Stillwater
1997 David Dulyx Wayzata
1998 Chad Morse Maple Grove
1999 Bobby Lish Mounds View
2000 Drew Roddy Orono
2001 Chris Lange Bloomington Jefferson
2002 Aaron Witchger Edina
2003 Geoffrey Myers Robbinsdale Armstrong
2004 Geoffrey Myers Robbinsdale Armstrong
2005 Ryan Vint Wayzata
2006 Colin Monasterio Wayzata
2007 Keido Pour St. Bernard's
2008 Whitney Browne Osseo
2009 David Rosenthal Apple Valley
2010 Eric Miller Woodbury
2011 Mario Aleman Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony
2012 Justin Oliver North St. Paul
2013 Zach Neiberger Minneapolis Southwest
2014 Suad Suljic Minnetonka
2015 Suad Suljic Minnetonka

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