This season the veteran Florvil (in blue) encouraged his Washburn teammates to “be passionate about what you’re doing. When you step on the field, play with intensity. Those things will put you on the next level.” Photo by Jerry Holt * email@example.com
Minneapolis Washburn senior Darley Florvil grew up playing street soccer while barefoot in his native Haiti.
On good days there was an actual soccer ball. Other days, a tennis ball would suffice. Sometimes, a plastic water bottle was all the neighborhood kids had.
“It was pretty poor,” Florvil said. “But we loved soccer there. Everyday you’d see 30 kids playing street soccer.”
The passion followed Florvil to the Twin Cities. He arrived at Washburn as a freshman and quickly took his place among the state’s top forwards. Always a strong finisher, Florvil expanded his playmaking abilities this season.
As a result, Florvil, the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year, leads the Millers into the Class 2A state tournament with 24 goals and 10 assists.
Washburn began the season with four new starters and a rebuilt defense. The veteran Florvil encouraged them to “be passionate about what you’re doing. When you step on the field, play with intensity. Those things will put you on the next level.”
Good teammates help, too. Washburn midfielder Jameson Charles was a soccer teammate of Florvil in Cite Soleil, a city in Haiti, through a program operated by The Sanneh Foundation called the Haitian Initiative. The two came to Minnesota through an exchange with the foundation, started by St. Paul native and former Major League Soccer player Tony Sanneh, to empower youth through developmental relationships and opportunities.
This season Charles has 28 assists, many of them feeding Florvil’s goals.
“He’s such an amazing soccer player,” Florvil said. “We have that connection. I can tell when he’s trying to pass and where he wants me to go.”
Washburn coach Aaron Percy advised Florvil around midseason to look for open teammates more often. Florvil responded with six assists over the next five games.
Some of what makes Florvil a top soccer player draws from his modest roots.
“Being able to control the tennis ball — and I used to juggle with a tennis ball — I feel like it gives me more control of an actual soccer ball,” he said.
Darley Florvil celebrated with teammates after a recent victory over Hopkins. Photo: Jerry Holt • Jerry.firstname.lastname@example.org
2018: Herbert Endeley, Totino-Grace
2017: Matt Lindberg, Edina
2016: Ata Claremond, North St. Paul
2015: Suad Suljic, Minnetonka
2014: Suljic, Minnetonka
2013: Zach Neiberger, Minneapolis Southwest
2012: Justin Oliver, North St. Paul
2011: Mario Aleman, Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony
2010: Eric Miller, Woodbury
2009: David Rosenthal, Apple Valley
2008: Whitney Browne, Osseo
2007: Keido Pour, St. Bernard's
2006: Colin Monasterio, Wayzata
2005: Ryan Vint, Wayzata
2004: Geoffrey Myers, Robbinsdale Armstrong
2003: Myers, Robbinsdale Armstrong
2002: Aaron Witchger, Edina
2001: Chris Lange, Bloomington Jefferson
2000: Drew Roddy, Orono
1999: Bobby Lish, Mounds View
1998: Chad Morse, Maple Grove
1997: David Dulyx, Wayzata
1996: Marshall Morehead, Stillwater
1995: Kareem Aal, Minneapolis South
1994: Eric Otto, St. Paul Academy
1993: Leo Cullen, St. Paul Academy
1992: Duncan Susee, Bloomington Jefferson
1991: Matt Gerlach, Burnsville
1990: Jeff Kogl, Stillwater
1989: Manuel Lagos, St. Paul Academy
1988: Manuel Lagos, St. Paul Academy
1987: Gerard Lagos, St. Paul Academy