Each summer, the Hanover High boys’ soccer team spends a few days at Windridge Sports Camp in Roxbury, Vermont, for bonding activities and scrimmages against other kids. One evening last year, the team sat around a campfire and each player announced their individual goals for the upcoming fall season.
Senior Eric Ringer was aiming high – he said he wanted to win the Gatorade New Hampshire Boys Soccer Player of the Year award.
On June 16, he got his wish. After a season in which he recorded a team-high 17 points and led Hanover to an appearance in the NHIAA Division I championship game, Ringer earned the award he had long coveted, becoming the fourth player of Hanover so honored over the past nine years.
“I’m so thankful it turned out like this,” Ringer said. “I know I put a lot of work into it, but that was my goal for the season. It was a good time for me. »
Born in Paris, Ringer and his family moved to Seattle when he was 5 due to his father’s job at Microsoft, and it was in Seattle that Ringer first played football. After his father retired, the family moved to Nantucket, then moved to Hanover just before Eric started high school.
Ringer spent his freshman year on the junior varsity team, then improved in each of his three seasons on the varsity team. For the 2019 state champions, Ringer scored four goals and added six assists, then had five goals in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He put it all together as a senior, providing climax after climax along the way.
On October 9, Hanover made a long Saturday morning trip to Dover and found themselves down three at half-time before battling back and winning, 4-3, from Ringer’s free-kick in stoppage time. .
“He just kept doing that all season,” said Hannover head coach Rob Grabill. “Just an amazing guy, jumping on his back, always the hardest worker in training, always reaching out to the younger guys on the team.”
Hanover hadn’t suffered a first-round playoff start since 1997, but were in danger of being upset by Alvirne in the first round on October 26, down a goal in the last minute before Ringer played a ball to second Carter Guerin, who found junior Jack Gardner for the equalizer with 15 seconds left in regulation. Ringer then set up senior Jacob Kubik-Pauw for the game winner in overtime.
In the November 5 league game against top seed Nashua South – a “neutral site” game at Nashua’s Stellos Stadium – Hannover again lost a goal in the second half when Ringer had the chance to level the score. on a penalty. The Panthers keeper saved his shot, but Hannover had another chance as the keeper left his line early.
Instead of taking the second shot himself, however, Ringer handed the ball to Kubik-Pauw, who buried the penalty that ultimately sent the game into extra time. Hanover finally fell in a long shootout.
“(He had) just one hell of a career,” Grabill said. “Played everywhere on the pitch, everywhere we asked him. Last year we played him in right midfield. He didn’t even play attacking midfield for us because we had so much talent in the making. He kept hitting free kicks and corner kicks, and he was inherently selfless.
Even with all of his accolades, Ringer passed up the chance to play college football and will instead go to the University of Colorado to study business and engineering.
In Colorado, he will have many opportunities to continue ski jumping, which he practiced in Hanover as a senior.
“I considered playing football in college, but I had a really good run playing football in high school, so I wanted to go to college with a new mindset and try new things. things,” Ringer said. “Going west, I hope to have a completely different experience. I didn’t really want to be held back by playing a sport that I love in college. I saw college as a bigger opportunity for me than just playing football.
Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected] or 603-727-3302.