Derek Snowden admits he’s a humble guy, but he’s not gonna lie.
Winning the Northern Buckeye Conference Co-Player of the Year award for soccer this fall was something he was shooting for all season. Donnie Bowen of Woodmore won the award last season, and Snowden was a close second in the coaches’ voting.
“When I found out last year I got beat out by one vote, that kind of pushed me to better myself this year, to have a better chance of getting it,” said Snowden, a senior defender at Eastwood.
The 6-foot, 170-pound Snowden, 18, who tied for the award this season with Rossford sophomore midfielder Hector Aguirre, is also the All-Press Player of the Year.
Snowden, a three-year starter on the Eagles’ defense, got the news that he’d won this year’s player of the year award from his aunt, Sue South, on Monday.
“She works with one of the Woodmore (soccer) parents,” Snowden said, “and I guess he found out from somewhere else. I was really excited. That’s what I’ve been working for all year, to get that award. I got a plaque, and right now it’s in with the (awards) I’ve gotten over the years. Right now, that’s the best one I’ve gotten.”
Snowden is the first Eastwood boy to win a conference player of the year award since Crosby Schemenauer took the Suburban Lakes League honor in 2008. Crosby, who was also a defender, is the son of current Eastwood coach Frank Schemenauer.
The coach said Snowden was a good choice to win this year’s NBC award.
“Derek has a quick first step and amazing make-up speed, and he is extremely athletic and reads the play on the field very well,” said Schemenauer, whose team finished 10-4-4 and 4-2-4 in the NBC. “He can dribble the ball faster than most people can run. The thing I like about Derek is his humility. He never boasts about his abilities. He lets his actions speak for themselves.”
Even though he only scored one goal this season, Snowden said he thought he played well enough to garner some recognition from opposing coaches.
“I just think it was the good sportsmanship, playing hard the entire game and never stopping, no matter what,” he said. “Before I started high school, it wasn’t so much like that. I was just aggressive all the time, no matter what. I felt like I was the guy who always had to make the plays. I can chase people down when they get a breakaway, and I can keep my feet. If I get hit really hard, I can stay up.”
Snowden’s lone goal this season came on Senior Night in a 1-0 win over Oak Harbor on Oct. 6.
“I ran up from defense, got the ball back, and I tried to take a shot and it bounced off the goalie,” Snowden said. “I was already laying on the ground, so I jumped up and basically used a bicycle kick to get it into the goal. I didn’t expect to score at all this year. My teammates thought that was the coolest thing ever. That basically made my senior year worth it.”
Snowden has also been the starting kicker on Eastwood’s football team the past two seasons. He was the Eagles’ fourth-leading scorer this fall, scoring 45 points by making 39 of 44 extra points and going 2-for-3 on field goals.
Snowden’s younger brother, Devin, 16, was a sophomore running back and defensive back for the Eagles. Devin scored nine touchdowns (54 points), led the team in kick return yardage and tied for the team lead with two interceptions.
Derek conceded that while his brother is the better football player, he is better than Devin in soccer.
“He has a lot of big games and I have a lot of big games,” said Derek, who hopes to play soccer at Bluffton University next fall. “I’m just thankful for all the talent I have, but I’m not going to go and brag about that to everybody. Devin’s got me for football. Half the time I don’t even know what’s going on out there.”