The Fitch High senior has drawn interest from several Division I colleges.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
AUSTINTOWN -- Meet Sam Camens, arguably the best soccer player in the Youngstown area whom you haven't heard about.
An Austintown Fitch High senior, Camens spends most of his time playing soccer outside of the Mahoning Valley.
"I don't think I would have been the player I am now if I wouldn't have taken the step out of Youngstown and gone to these places and tried to be the best," Camens said.
Camens, a 5-foot-4 forward and midfielder, plays for one of the strongest club teams in the state -- the Internationals, based in Cleveland.
He's a member of the Olympic Development Program, which stocks the national team, and also has made the Cleveland Crunch Juniors team, similar to a farm club.
"You know you're not going to be the best player there, and that's why you do it," he said of his outside ventures. "You've got to go evaluate yourself."
For his involvement in these other areas, Camens has developed his game and a reputation from those within the soccer community.
"He is the best soccer player that most people in Northeast Ohio haven't seen," said a post on Clevelandlive.com. "Immensely skilled. Irrepressible energy. Great speed. He has no one to challenge him in Youngstown."
Camens, the National Honor Society president who carries a 3.8 grade-point average and plans to major in pre-med or business, has drawn attention from Division I college soccer programs. He considers Akron, Bucknell, Cincinnati, Duquesne, Lafayette and Marquette to be at the top of his list.
"I want to go out there and have a main role on a team," said Camens, who wants to make a decision before December. "The coaches I've talked to think I can do that."
Camens' love for the game began around age 6, when he brought home a pamphlet for the Austintown Junior Soccer League.
"Mom," Camens declared, "I want to play soccer."
Dale and Theresa Camens had wanted their son to play baseball and football. That plan changed.
Camens said he scored 69 goals in his first year of the youth league, including 11 in one game.
That production has remained consistent as Camens totaled 37 goals and 50 assists entering his senior year at Fitch. He has 11 goals this year for coach Rigo Castillo's Falcons (6-3).
"He's probably one of the most consistent of the elite players in this area," said North Canton Hoover coach Mario Giganti last season after Camens led Fitch to victory in a district semifinal.
Cardinal Mooney coach Lenny Krispinsky is impressed by Camens' "shot and quickness" and describes him as Fitch's leader.
Camens, the reigning Division I district player of the year, also considers himself a team leader, although he wasn't named a captain by teammates when the season started. That role went to seniors Alex Castillo and Shea Stewart.
"When games are going rough I try to step up and talk to the players on the field," Camens said. "I'm going to do the same things that I would if I was captain."
That includes leading Fitch to the district championship, something Camens feels is possible for this year's team. The Falcons lost to Green in the district title game last season.
"The biggest problem is we're inconsistent," Camens said. "If we start clicking, this is a strong team. If we get out of districts, anything can happen."