Satoru Shinohra’s passion, talent evident in net for Panthers

Published 7:17 pm Thursday, October 19, 2017

PINETOWN — Soccer has always been a passion for Northside senior goalkeeper Satoru Shinohra. Nicknamed “Tiger” by his teammates, Shinohra moved from Japan when he was 9 years old.

He has been playing soccer since he was a 4-year-old. It was something that, upon moving to America, helped curb the culture shock and got him involved with the community.

“When I first moved here from Japan, it’s something that helped keep me in the community,” he said. “I like the game. For me, it’s not about scoring. It’s about being a team and working as a team to do the best we can do. I don’t care about what position I play as long as I can play and be part of a team.”

It’s a good, positive outlook for a player that had to be moved from the midfield and into the goal. Shinohra injured his knee while practicing his kicking for the Panthers’ football team.

“It went away for a while during the offseason, but it came back. I got a doctor’s note to play, but it was up to tolerance,” he said. “Coach had to put me in goal.”

“Tiger” had grown accustomed to chasing the ball and using his speed to create scoring chances. The injury to his knee has inhibited him from being able to run around for such an extended period of time.

Now, in his senior season, he’s denying scoring chances. Shinohra has played keeper in the past, so the transition hasn’t been too tough.

“I used to play goalie four or five years ago, so it didn’t take so long,” he said. “I’ve just got to polish it.”

Shinohra is contributing in a different way, but he’s an impact player nonetheless. He owns a clean sheet in a 5-0 win over Bear Grass. He helped keep a 2-1 loss at Tarboro within reach.

On Monday, Shinohra and the Panthers faced off against Beaufort County rival Southside in 1-A Coastal Plains Conference action. He made spectacular saves — one after another, turning away a creative Seahawks team — in a scoreless first half. He had one save that saw him dive to deflect a shot, then jump on the rebound before it could trickle into the goal.

Southside ended up putting three past him in the second half, but not for a lack of effort. One of the goals came on a scrum for a rebound.

“There’s so much to say about him. He’s such a versatile player. He can play anywhere on the field,” Northside coach Bogy Patton said. “He’s certainly a team leader. He’s just a really good overall player and person.”

Shinohra leads by example with his skill and willingness to contribute however he can. He’s also the commanding voice for the defense as he observes the action unfolding from his vantage point.

Northside has two games remaining. The Panthers host Tarboro on Monday before wrapping up the season at Southside. With two wins under their belt, they will look for success down the stretch to hopefully earn a playoff berth.