CANTON – There are great soccer players who are the ones scoring goals and celebrating with his teammates on the field. There are other outstanding players that set up their teammates for success and celebrate with them.
Canton senior Ty Aleksa could be both of these players and was during his four-year career with the Canton High boys soccer team.
Aleksa scored 24 goals in his career, including 10 goals each in his junior and senior years. But he also set up many of his teammates to score and helped his team win as the Warriors captured 34 games in the last three years – the most since Canton won 37 in 2001-03.
“A lot of reporters and people who don’t understand and know soccer, don’t always see who made the goal happen,” long-time Canton High coach Bill Phelps said. “You don’t always see the person who dictates what goes on the field.”
The coaches saw it. Aleksa was recognized with All-American honors, just the third soccer player in school history to achieve such an honor.
“His forte is defense but I had him at midfield and at forward,” Phelps said. “At our level, he is a utility player that can play anywhere. He has exceptional skills, an exceptional work ethic and an exceptional vision of the game.
“He knows what can happen before it happens. He knows when to press, when to pass. He is a Schilling and Vaudreiul type,” Phelps said.
Aleksa is the first soccer All-American since Karl Schilling, who was named to the Parade Magazine All-American team following the 2003 season when Canton won the Class S championship. Schilling went on to play at UConn in college.
Vaudreuil, who graduated in 1984, also earned All-American honors. He played his collegiate ball at Princeton and eventually won two MLS Cup championships playing with D.C. United in the mid 1990s.
Phelps, who has been behind the bench in Canton for 32 years, also coached Schilling. “That is the caliber that Ty is,” Phelps said. “Both are very quiet and very good students. They did their jobs (on the field) beautifully.”
Aleksa announced on his Instagram page in November that he has committed to attend Skidmore College, a Division III program in Saratoga Springs, New York.
“Ty led by example,” Phelps said. “He did an outstanding job.” Aleska earned All-State and All-New England honors the past two seasons. A year ago, the Warriors finished 12-2-2 in the NCCC and the most wins in the regular season since they joined the NCCC in 1984. Canton advanced to the Class S quarterfinals before losing to Cromwell.
During this pandemic shortened season, Canton went 8-2 in the NCCC West and 9-3 overall for a sixth straight winning season. Aleksa had two goals in the 4-0 win over Suffield in mid-October, one of Canton’s best performances of the season.
Canton High All-American players
David Vaudreuil, soccer 1983
Bill Canny, baseball, 1987
Betsy Olson, field hockey, 1989
Erin Murphy, field hockey, 1992
Karl Schilling, boys soccer, 2003
Abby Charron, girls lacrosse, 2019