Jacob Maurutto-Robinson may have gone to OFSAA last year for cross-country, but the standout Forest Hill CI runner is returning to his favourite game: soccer.
It’s a cool fall day, and the Falcons are taking to the pitch against Western Tech Mustangs. The 15-year-old Maurutto-Robinson is grinning as his coach Howard Russell introduces him.
He finished 78th in Midget Boys Cross Country in 2013, with a time of 20:10 on a 5.21 km track in Sudbury.
A year later, he’s taken to the Falcons junior soccer squad. The team is heading into their Oct. 22 game with a 3-2 record, and part of their good record, as Russell admitted, is due to his midfielder.
“He’s the only one you’ll see doing sliding tackles on the field,” Russell said.
Maurutto-Robinson began playing soccer at a young age. He was put into the game by parents wary of concussions being reported in hockey.
He tried out for a rep team at 8 and almost immediately began to love the sport.
“I’ve loved soccer ever since,” he said.
What made him move from cross-country in his freshman year to “footie” in sophomore year was simply peer pressure. That, and a longer-than-usual break from his rep team, Islington Rangers.
“All my friends were telling me to come to the team because they didn’t do so well last year,” Maurutto-Robinson said. “Our team had a month break after our summer season, so I started missing playing it.”
The dream, he admitted, was to play in England.
He’ll be returning there to take part in Aston Villa’s junior football program in December. He was introduced to the opportunity by his U15 Islington Rangers coaches, Lee Merricks and Mark Johnson.
He plays centre-back and right-back for Islington, but Maurutto-Robinson said he finds himself playing midfield on Forest Hill because he knows the position and it allows him to help some of his teammates in the backfield.
“You’re playing with kids who have not played at a high level of soccer before,” he said. “They don’t exactly know what they’re doing, especially in the defence, because it’s a very technical game.
“You have to stay back and help them out a bit more.”
Who does Maurutto-Robinson look up to? Steven Gerrard of Liverpool.
As for the game, Forest Hill beat the Mustangs 5-1. Maurutto-Robinson had a goal in the winning cause. Mirza Custovic had a hat trick. A goal by Klajd Elezaj finished filling out the rest of the sheet for the Falcons.
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