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Meade: Star striker, growing leader

Central High School’s varsity soccer team will miss the leadership and offensive prowess of senior Hunter Meade.

After benefiting from Meade’s abilities from 2017-19, the Chargers were not able to see what he could have helped them do this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Central Head Coach Hunter Dipaolo noted on social media that Meade has grown tremendously over the past three years.

“He has not only developed and honed his skills on the field, but he has also become a leader both on and off the field,” Dipaolo stated. “The maturity that Hunter has shown even in the first few weeks of practice of the 2020 season is impressive.

“It is always awesome to hear players encouraging and positively promoting their teammates,” he continued. “It is even better to see players get excited about other players’ goals and accomplishments. Hunter was that player. Hunter would have been a captain for the 2020 soccer season.”

Meade was especially excited for the 2020 campaign.

“By far, the team we had this year, I think we had the most talent,” Meade said.

He noted Central has not had a season win-loss record better than .500 during his varsity career, and he was hoping to see that trend change in 2020.

“I wanted a winning record just to say I did (it), and I think it would be good for the team, boost the morale a little bit for the next coming players,” he said.

Meade said the last couple months of not being at school have been pretty awkward, wondering what is going to happen.

“I only found out about graduation a couple weeks ago on what we were going to do and if I was even going to get my diploma,” he said. As for the lost 2020 soccer season, Meade noted what he misses most is his teammates.

“I was really close with a lot of my teammates, and I miss just being able to be out there on the field and do what I do best,” he said.

And what he did best revolved around offense.

“I’d say my attacking presence really helped us a lot and extended the scores to where we didn’t have to play so defensive,” he said.

Dipaolo said Meade is Central’s starting striker, meaning his primary role is to help create scoring opportunities.

“And he has done that very well,” the coach stated. “Hunter has been the leading scorer on the team for the past two seasons.”

He noted that in Meade’s sophomore season in 2018, Meade had the second-most goals in the James River District.

“Last year, he fell into more of a facilitating role by assisting other players to help create more team goals and thus contributing to the team’s success in that way,” Dipaolo said.

Meade expected that facilitating role to continue this year after a conversation with the coach.

“I was probably going to play mostly midfield this year, because we had a lot of attacking players,” Meade said.

The coach stated Meade was selected to the all-region first team for the 2018 campaign and the all-region second team for the 2019 season in a highly competitive region for soccer.

Meade said he has been playing soccer since he was a toddler, estimating he has been competing on the pitch for a total of 11-12 years. And he has been involved in more soccer than just high school play at Central.

“I used to play a little indoor league in South Hill,” he said. “I play an adult league at the Longwood Lancer field every summer, and I played rec ball in Lunenburg and Clarksville.”

He does not plan to leave soccer behind after high school, even if he is not moving on immediately to formal intercollegiate play.

“I’m probably still going to play in the adult league that I play in, in the summer, if it happens,” he said. “And I’m going to lineman school in the fall, hopefully, but I do have some dreams and aspirations to keep on playing and doing what I love, so I’ll just have to see how things work out.”

He said he plans to attend Southside Virginia Community College for an approximately 12- week course training to be a power lineman.