Boys Soccer: Naperville Central’s Pat Flynn is a cut above the restPat Flynn (5) is mobbed by Naperville Central teammates Mike West, Blake Beehler and Mike Plant (back) after scoring a late second-half goal to tie the game with Batavia. Flynn went on to score the winning goal just a few minutes later. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 2, 2012 8:14PM
Pat Flynn emerged as a major player as a junior who scored 14 goals and recorded six assists in leading Naperville Central to the Class 3A runner-up trophy last year.
Still, what he has done in his senior year has been nothing short of astonishing. He has scored in 19 of the Redhawks’ 23 games, registering 29 goals and nine assists in powering Naperville Central to its second consecutive state title appearance. The goals have also occurred in context. He has had multiple game-winning shots this year. For his accomplishment, Flynn was the natural and obvious selection for the Sun-Times’ Player of the Year.
“He’s taken ownership that you want to see from a senior,” Naperville Central coach Troy Adams said, “of this is what I need to do in order for the tea to win. The biggest thing with Pat is this sense of, ‘I want the ball and I want to score.’ He had it last year, but this year he’s really made the leap.”
Flynn had burned into his consciousness the extreme disappointment of walking off the field at Lincoln-Way North last year after losing to Morton 1-0 in overtime. “I worked hard in the summer,” Flynn said. “Connor Allen and I spent a lot of time on the field just working on our game, our skill, putting touches on the ball.”
He also credits the team, providing for him to flourish. “I’m a four-year returning varsity player, but it’s the team putting me in good places,” he said. “The combination plays that we do. As I’ve gotten older, I have a much better understanding of the game.
He has his eyes on the prize. “Once you get inside 25 or 20 yards, you’ve got to be able to shoot and hope for good things,” he said.