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Cole Murphy has all the right tools

Goalkeeper has skills that give him pro potential, coach says

Posted: January 10, 2014 10:05 p.m.
Updated: January 10, 2014 10:05 p.m.

Valencia senior goalkeeper Cole Murphy served as Valencia football's place kicker the last two years.

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You know you’re doing something right as an athlete when you get compared to a comic-book hero.

That’s how one teammate described Valencia senior Cole Murphy and his abilities as a goalkeeper.

“He’s always going 100 percent to save a ball. He’s never short of a miss. He’s working his hardest to save a ball. He reminds me of Spider-Man honestly the way he jumps for the ball,” says Valencia senior Brandyn Alonso, who is both a football and soccer teammate of Murphy’s at Valencia.

Murphy is 6 feet, 4 inches with a slim, athletic build and he possesses outstanding agility and skills to get to the ball.

That combination makes him a virtual brick wall in goal.

“I kind of scare people sometimes,” Murphy says.

And here’s another scary thought for opponents.

Tony Scalercio, the 17th-year Valencia head coach, says Murphy reminds him of two professional players he once coached.

With the Cal South Olympic Development team, Scalercio coached Hart High graduate Kyle Reynish as well as Chis Seitz, both of whom currently play for Major League Soccer teams.

Reynish signed with the Chicago Fire on Friday and Seitz plays for FC Dallas.

Scalercio says he sees the same level of athleticism and potential in Murphy.

“He’s a physical specimen,” Scalercio says of the senior. “He’s as athletic as can be, and the guy could be an Abercrombie and Fitch model.”

At least for now, Murphy is somewhat of an unknown in the varsity soccer world around town. His only previous varsity experience came in a short stint his sophomore year while at West Ranch High School.

Midway through that season, Murphy, who lives in Castaic, transferred to Valencia.

By rule, he then had to sit out his junior soccer season.

Though Murphy has enjoyed two successful years at the kicker on Valencia’s football team, he’ll get to display his soccer skills for the first time in league play on Tuesday when Valencia plays at Saugus in the Foothill League opener.

“There’s always huge pressure when it comes to that,” Murphy says of the responsibility of a starting keeper. “I believe I can do it and of course being a captain on the team as well puts a lot of weight on my shoulders.”

It’s not a new concept for him to laying under pressure and out on an island.

As a place kicker and punter in football, he was constantly put in that situation and he regularly delivered.

Murphy was named to the All-Foothill League football first-team offense both his junior and senior year at Valencia.

Valencia kicking coach Brian Malette said part of the reason is because Murphy wasn’t like most high school players at his position.

“You think of them as the weird kid off in the corner doing his own thing,” Malette said of kickers. “Cole is actually the complete opposite. He loves being with his teammates.”

During Valencia football’s CIF-Southern Section Northern Division championship game against Hart, Murphy successfully kicked a pressure-packed, 36-yard field goal to tie the score at 21-21 with 6:27 left in the game.

Murphy said he wasn’t nervous going into the highly important kick. He was confident after years of facing similar situations in both football and as a keeper in soccer.

“I used to be really bad. I used to be super anxious and very worried,” Murphy says. “That experience (in the CIF championship game) really made me calm down and just think if you make it you make it. If you miss it you miss it.”

Murphy attended Chris Sailer kicking camps, which is where some of the top football kicking prospects in the nation go.

It’s that same type of demeanor that makes him fearless.

And it’s the same reason why teammates line Alonso say they take comfort in knowing who is Valencia’s last line of defense.

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