Peaden stepping up for the Pam Pack

Published 8:29 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Washington senior defender Phillip Peaden (4) is hoping to point the Pam Pack in the direction of the postseason in his final year at Washington High School. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Washington senior Phillip Peaden wants to go to college and major in criminal justice, which makes perfect sense when considering the Pam Pack defender has been arresting opposing team’s scoring opportunities all season long.
With a lean and lanky 6-1 frame, Peaden has the speed and athleticism to cover a massive amount of ground, and being that he has played soccer since he was four years old, he also has the savvy to know what to do once he gets to his destination.
“Phillip has a good combination of being a physical player, but also having some finesse,” Washington soccer coach Jimmy Kozuch said. “He uses his size really well. He’s a taller player so he’s able to stride-out a lot of players. There’s nobody on the field he can’t catch up to.”
Peaden’s tools came in full display on one particular play in the second half of Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to West Carteret.
Washington was clinging to a 3-2 lead when Pam Pack keeper Trey Main jumped up field to defend as the Patriots attacked. West Carteret was able to get the ball over the head off Main, but out of nowhere Peaden entered the pictured and in a single motion booted the ball out of dangerous territory to preserve the lead.
“I just try to anticipate,” Peaden said. “Then, with my long legs I’m able to stride it out. I just try to let nothing get through.”
That play against West Carteret was something that would have been hard to imagine last year as Peaden was rehabbing from a leg injury sustained on the day before Coastal Conference play was set to begin.
“It was a pickup game and one of my teammates kicked me from behind and broke my tibia and my fibula,” Peaden said. “I was only out for two months but I didn’t get to play at all last year.”
Despite not being able to suit up, Peaden still showed his dedication to soccer and his teammates.
“I missed it a lot, I really did,” Peaden said. “I came to every game and tried to support my team but there’s nothing like being out there on the field.”
For Washington, who missed out on making the playoffs, the absence of Peaden was felt.
“It was a big loss last year,” Kozuch said. “We had a pretty good team and we were in a ton of games but missing a key defender I think really hurt us. He could have been a difference maker last year.”
Peaden is trying to make up for lost time and said that getting back on the pitch wearing his Pam Pack jersey was a day he won’t soon forget.
“It was awesome,” Peaden said. “I was ready after those two months, I wanted to play right then.”
Washington is about midway through its schedule and has some ground to makeup if it wants to make the postseason. Whether or not the team can do it is uncertain, but one thing Kozuch is sure about is that Peaden will go all out until there are no more games to play.
“Phillip is a strong, strong defender and a great player,” Kozuch said. “He’s a true leader out there and he cares a lot about the team. He puts the team ahead of himself and he’s just a good all-around kid.”