Nazareth’s Sam Abed is a bit of a crazy man on the soccer field.
The senior plays the game on the edge, going full speed all of the time.
“He’s very intense,” Roadrunners’ head coach Doug Hunt said. “Sometimes he’ll get so involved in a play he loses perspective. But that’s something you need on a team. He says ‘Here I go. You guys better follow me.’ ”
Senior teammate Jack Coleman loves how Abed plays.
“Sam is definitely a catalyst,” Coleman said. “He has a lot of passion for the game so whenever he steps on the field he gives 100 percent. Sometime he’ll get out of control but he knows how to cool himself down.”
Abed certainly had his fair share of soccer injuries, the worst coming during a club match in May 2011. Abed was going for a ball and fell, but his opponent stayed on his feet. The opponent’s attempted kick connected with Abed’s face instead.
The kick knocked Abed out for a few seconds and he was dizzy when he stood but was able to walk off the field and head to the hospital.
“I wasn’t freaking out because I knew what happened right away,” Abed said. “My nose was bleeding bad and my jaw was messed up.”
The diagnosis was a broken nose and a fractured jaw. Abed had surgery for both and the doctors pulled his wisdom teeth as well. But in true tough-guy fashion, Abed was back on the pitch two weeks later.
Abed, who lives in Palos Hills, estimates that he’s had four concussions playing soccer but it’s not something he worries about.
“Everybody else worries about (concussions) but you can’t think too much about it while you’re playing,” he said. “It’s something that comes with this level and it will happen even more at the next level. It’s part of the game.”
Abed has thought about playing soccer at the next level but doesn’t think it’s something he’ll pursue. Right now he has his sights set on University of Iowa and Missouri. They both have strong nursing programs, which is the field Abed plans to study.
“(Going into nursing) has nothing to do with my injuries, I just know there’s a big demand for nurses,” he said. “I think I’ll enjoy it and it will keep me busy. I definitely like the fact that I’ll be helping people.”
Abed has been helping the Nazareth soccer program in a big way during the state playoffs. In three games he’s scored four goals and that’s while playing a new position.
Center midfielder Mark Harris went down with an injury earlier this month and after trying some different people at the spot, Hunt decided Abed, who was playing defense, fit the role the best.
“Like Mark, he has enough skills so he can control the midfield,” Hunt said. “He’s been a real factor in the offense.”
“Mark was a such a big part of his team but Sam stepped in perfectly and has scored some goals,” said Coleman. “He can be put anywhere on the field and play just as well as someone who has been playing there for years.”
Abed and the Roadrunners won the Riverside-Brookfield Sectional championship on Saturday without ever stepping on the field. Their opponent, Kennedy, was found to have won its semifinal match with an ineligible player on the team and was forced to forfeit the title game.
Nazareth advanced to the Lemont Supersectional against Washington on Tuesday, with the winner qualifying for the Final Four and a date with either Glenwood Chatham or Rochester at 1 p.m. Friday at Hoffman Estates High School.