THE NEWS
KEELO IS MOVING FORWARD BY AL FREEMAN, NCSCA
Elmont's Ahkeel Rodney hates to lose. I don't mean that he is the sore loser type who whines after a defeat, but the type of individual who will do anything in his power to help his team win.

In a recent match against Plainedge, when the Elmont keeper was yellow carded, Ahkeel volunteered to move from midfield to goal. With the score 4-2 in favor of Elmont, he finished the game at sweeper locking down the defensive third of the field and preventing Plainedge from getting any closer.

"He's a leader," Elmont Coach Pat Corvetti said. "On the field, in the locker room, on the bus, in the halls; he's a leader."

Last year's Jim Steen award winner, given to the best player in the county, was challenged by his coach before the season to increase his assist total and make his teammates better. Last year, Keelo (as his coach calls him) scored an astounding 33 goals, but as a forward, notched only 3 assists. This year, Coach Corvetti shifted him to the midfield to avoid the inevitable double and triple teams. He has responded with seven assists through the early season to go with 8 goals.

Part of being a leader is to do so by example and despite his accomplishments, Ahkeel is not resting on his laurels.

"Coming into the season, I knew I had to get into better shape."

So, he has pushed himself and his teammates to work harder. He can be seen at practice breaking down a move or a skill for another Elmont player.

Great players move forward and Ahkeel Rodney is moving upward through the ranks of elite players. Tabbed for the U-18 national pool at forward, his play in an international tournament in Mexico last February propelled him to the U-20 national team. The University of Virginia coach, a member ot the U-18 staff, has heavily recruited Akeel for the Cavaliers' soccer program. Since Ahkeel has the 90 plus average that Virginia requires, there is a strong possibility that although Akeel is undecided about his college future at this writing, he will wind up in Charlottesville in the fall of 2009.

"He has to be even stronger to succeed at the D-1 level, Coach Pat Corvetti said.

However, since Ahkeel Rodney hates to lose, there is little doubt that he will do whatever is necessary to make the transition to the next level.

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