Century Comfere is PB’s Men’s Soccer Player of the Year – Reuters

Hal Houghton has been coaching football for quite some time.

Still, the longtime Century Boys coach admits he’s never coached someone like Max Comfere.

“He’s one of those guys you’re lucky to have coached in your career,” Houghton said. “…Since I’ve been here I think we’ve had maybe another year where we had a guy, where it was like we got the ball from this guy, maybe he could score for us But we haven’t usually had teams where we’re trying to get the ball to a player. And we haven’t been trying to give Max the ball all the time. But it was always nice to have there because if he gets the ball up there he is so dangerous.

With his exceptional speed and strength, combined with exceptional touch and finishing ability, Comfere has established himself as one of Minnesota State’s top scorers. It didn’t matter if the ball was at his feet, making threatening runs down the pitch, or playing the ball in the air, Comfere was constantly putting the focus on his opponents.

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The senior finished with 22 goals and four assists in just 14 games en route to being named to the Class AAA All-State First Team for the second straight season and helping the Panthers win their first Big Nine Conference title since. 2006. These are just a few. of the many reasons why Comfere is the Post Bulletin Men’s Football Player of the Year.
“It was really a team effort all season long,” Comfere said. “I couldn’t have done it myself at all. The 22 goals are not only a reflection of my talent and skills, but also of those who surrounded me throughout the year. And of course, it’s really a kind of big picture thinking, which is also an impressive feat for the team.

Comfere and Houghton will admit, however, that just a few years ago, it took Comfere a bit of time to acclimate to the Century program.

He joined the Panthers in his first season after playing for Mayo as an eighth grader, but Comfere soon found himself on Century’s B team. He thought his skills were good enough to earn a spot on the Panthers’ junior varsity team.

“My relationship with the coaching staff has been interesting,” Comfere said. “It was difficult to connect with the coaches at first.”

The truth is, it took time for Houghton and company to adjust to who Comfere was as a player.

Comfere had a way of making it look like he wasn’t going as hard as he should have been, which of course he wasn’t. It was part of his game, but the coaches took a while to figure it out.

“Max always looked like he wasn’t working,” Houghton said. “I said that about him forever, he looks like he’s not doing anything. He looks like he’s getting a little lazy and then all of a sudden, bam, he’s doing this run. He’s puts behind the guys and he suddenly scores. It’s like he’s putting the guys to sleep and then all of a sudden he’s gone.

“With Max, it took me a little while to figure all that out about him. Once I figured that out, OK, he’s totally aware of what’s going on here. He was just focusing on one aspect game different from mine from time to time.

Once that understanding was found, the relationship blossomed – just like Comfere and the Panthers.

“We kind of formed that bond,” Comfere said. “Hal and I are really connected on a tactical level. He understands my style of play and I understand what he is trying to coach. It works really well that way.

“You really have to give it to Hal as well because he was very open to feedback from the players and ready to adapt accordingly. It was an open collaboration between the players and the coaches which really allowed everyone to perform at their best. the players.

Aided by a growth spurt that saw him climb four inches the summer before his sophomore season, as well as finding his comfort zone, Comfere burst onto the scene as a 10th grader. He has registered a goal or an assist in eight games. But Comfere’s season ended prematurely when he suffered a partial rupture of the insertion of the patellar tendon in his left knee. It was a blow. But with him, something became very clear.

The Panthers had something special in Comfere.

“He had a point in every game he played. Eight games, he had eight points. And I thought, ‘OK, well, we’ve got to get you on the court,'” Houghton said with a laugh.

That knee injury continues to bother Comfere to this day. But he fought. His junior season, he became a household name.

He was named to the All-State Class AA First Team after scoring 14 goals and adding five assists. He was a key cog for a Century team that fell to Northfield in the Section 1AA Championship game. Comfere scored a goal in the 2-1 loss to the Raiders.

Century’s Max Comfere takes the ball downfield in Thursday night’s Section 1AAA semi-final against Century. Alex Vanden Houten / PostBulletin

It was disappointing at the time, but with 17 seniors returning – including Comfere – the Panthers expected to be back and more.

It looked like they were on the right track.

The Panthers started this season 6-0 before winning their first Big Nine Conference championship since 2006 with a 10-1 mark. They received the No. 2 seed for the Section 1AAA playoffs after a 13-2 regular season that saw them beat their opponents 48-7.

But after an emphatic 4-0 victory over John Marshall, their other Crosstown rivals Mayo eliminated them in the semi-finals by a score of 2-1 in what was a well-played game of football. The Spartans placed fourth in the Class AAA state tournament.

“It’s a bit bittersweet,” Comfere said. “At the end of the day, things don’t always go the way we might have hoped. We had bigger goals for this season, bigger hopes, bigger aspirations. We wanted to compete in the state, and in the end, those things didn’t work out.

For Comfere, however, there are far brighter days ahead.

Always fascinated by rockets and outer space, Comfere hopes to study aerospace engineering. He said his dream job was to build rockets for SpaceX. He also has a passion for computer programming and loves playing the clarinet.

As for his football career?

Comfere won’t be playing collegiately but doesn’t think his football days are over yet.

“After high school, I don’t really know what my plans will be in terms of football,” Comfere said. “I love the game and would play no matter where I go or what team I play on.”