Boys Soccer: Munster’s Zarko Croic the complete packageMunster senior center midfielder Zarko Coric, photographed Thursday November 17, 2011 in Munster, Ind., is the Post-Tribune Boys Soccer Player of the Year. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 23, 2011 10:06PM
Jim Prasopoulos has coached his fair share of outstanding high school soccer players in 14 years at the Munster helm. But he’s not afraid to put one player at the top of that list. And that’s Zarko Coric.
Prasopoulos admits Coric, the Post-Tribune’s Player of the Year, might not be the most physically talented player to come through the Mustangs’ program. But it’s the overall package — the talent, the positive attitude, the sportsmanship, the dedication — that sets Coric apart.
“People look at how well he plays, but there’s a whole other half of him they never see,” Prasopoulos said. “And that’s how he is as a person. That’s what really tips him over the edge for me. Some coaches have seen it. They’ve seen how respectful he is to the game and to his opponents. It’s his play but also how he is as a human being.”
At the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association showcase this past weekend, Coric and a local coach struck up a conversation. And the coach complimented Coric on how well he comports himself on the field. Coric said he was flattered.
“That’s the best compliment I can get,” Coric said. “That definitely means more to me than anything else. It shows there’s more than just soccer. It shows how you’re raised with family and friends you grow up with. It says a lot about the Munster community and everything as a whole tied together.”
With that said, Coric still stands out on the field. He has a knack for scoring, finishing with 25 goals this season. And he can dish it just as well, posting 13 assists.
Coric moved from his primary high school position of forward to center midfield this season. It allowed him to do more for the Mustangs, particularly by controlling the tempo.
“We needed him to play a different role, and he welcomed that,” Prasopoulos said. “He still scored 25 goals, and there were times we put him up top, too.
“We wanted to give him space and room. It’s a little harder to man mark him when he’s a center midfielder. When he’s up top, like anyone, it gets a little crowded. We wanted him to face the goal and attack. He’s very good at distributing the ball, and he’s got very good field awareness.”
Coric said he was willing to do whatever was best for the team. It’s a role he took seriously, especially when it came to mentoring the younger players on the team.
“After the season concluded, each of the seniors all took turns talking to the underclassmen about what we thought we did right and what we thought they could change about what we did,” Coric said. “We definitely want to give our knowledge back do the younger kids so they can fix any mistakes we made and ultimately be the first team from Munster to make it to state.”
Coric hopes to play college soccer, and said he’s had a few schools express interest. Prasopoulos said the college coach that lands Coric will have landed himself a gem of a player.
“He’s just a really good kid that’s going to be missed,” Prasopoulos said. “He did a lot for the program. He cared about his teammates. We’ve had a lot of really nice players come through the program, but you don’t get too many players like Zarko Coric.”