Bourbeau named to All-State squad
When Turners Falls High School senior soccer player Wyatt Bourbeau saw former Indian teammate David Garcia at the first day of soccer practice this past fall, he had a message for him.
“He said to David, ‘I’m getting 21,’” recalled Indian coach Gregg Bergstrom, in regard to Garcia’s two-year-old school record of 20 goals.
Bourbeau kept his promise this season, netting 23 goals to break the record, and he joined Garcia as only the second player ever from the school to be named to the Massachusetts High School Soccer Coaches’ Association Division III All-State team.
“I was kind of surprised, but at the same time not surprised,” Bourbeau said in reaction to being named to the team. “My team had a lot to do with it, they were able to get me the ball because they knew what I could do.”
Bourbeau and the rest of the All-State selections were honored during a banquet at the Lusitano Club in Ludlow. He is also a four-time McGrath Division North All-Star.
Standing only 5-foot-5, Bourbeau was never one of the biggest players on the field, but his skill set and speed helped him become one of the most potent goal scorers in western Massachusetts, as he finished with 23 goals and six assists in 2012.
While Bourbeau acknowledged his teammates with helping him achieve the school goal-scoring record and All-State selection, he also said that his coach helped push him to be even greater.
“Gregg taught me how to take chances,” Bourbeau said. “He wanted me to challenge defenders and myself.”
Bergstrom said that with the speed that Bourbeau possesses, as well as his coachability, it was easy to work with the striker and get him player to take more chances with the ball this season.
“With his speed, I tried to teach him to look past the defender, and then to improvise after that,” Bergstrom said. “With him being fast, tenacious and dangerous, it had good results. Plus, if we asked him to check back on defense, he would do that. He’s the smallest kid on the field, but he’s got the biggest heart. For me, he’s the biggest kid on the field. And he’s a good kid, and he’ll do whatever you ask.”
It resulted not only in the 29 points, but also helped set up many more goals that Bourbeau was not credited for on the scoresheet. Whether he forced defenses to overplay him, thus opening up other players, or by his drawing of penalty shots, his presence was felt all over the field.
Recorder sports writer Mark Durant contributed to this story.