Jack Emo, center, with his parents, Jodie (Bracken) Emo and Jason Emo after receiving his first-team all-state honor from New York State. Steve Harrison photo.
Story and photos by STEVE HARRISON
Although high school soccer season is a faded memory for many in the area, for one local athlete, soccer season is very much in the front and center.
The New York State Public Athletic Association has released the Boys All-State teams for the 2022 season.
Quietly, the roster had the name of Hornell High School’s very own junior striker, Jack Emo as one of the most prestigious honors, New York State Class B first-team.
A NEW SCHOOL
Hailing from Hornellsville and attending Hornell High School, Jack is a 16 year old junior. He attended most of his academic years in Alfred-Almond before transferring to Hornell in the 2021 school year.
Jack says he was looking for a new experience after being in a small school. He wanted to see what it was like attending a larger school with more kids around. From the very first day, he knew that his decision was the right one for him to finish out his academics.
Soccer is a sport that runs through the young man’s blood as Jack has been around a soccer field all his life. From the fields of the YMCA youth soccer to the Nest in Alfred-Almond and the turf of Maple City Park, those are just a few places he has laced up the cleats to play.
With a year left, Jack has already earned Steuben County All-Star teams and Livingston County first-team honors in his first two seasons for the Red Raiders.
Another impressive honor, as a sophomore, Emo earned New York State second-team honors for soccer as well.
Hornell Coach Jim Tobin stated that over his career he has had several players make the state all-star teams, but never a second team and that he did it as a 10th grader was unheard of.
ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
First the team honors. Emo led the Hornell Red Raiders to an outstanding 15-2-0 record and the team finished the regular season as Livingston County Athletic Association champs.
Individually, Emo broke Hornell’s single season scoring record and tallied 25 total goals along with 8 assists on the season. In addition to the first-team all-state honor, Emo was also named a first-team Livingston County All-Star for the second straight year.
“Jack’s dedication to soccer has enabled him to earn these honors,” Tobin said about his starting midfielder and co-captain. “There is no ‘off-season’ for Jack as he trains and competes year round on travel teams that play across New York State.”
Tobin continued, “We look forward to a strong 2023 season with a number of strong players returning.”
The 2022 season was one for the record books as the 25 goals broke a single-season school record.
HARD WORK AND TOUGH DEFENSE
When you are named second-team all state at age 15 and as a sophomore, you will be marked and double teamed as a junior.
Jack put in the hard work throughout the off-season Tobin said Jack knew that any time he was on the field this past season he was going to be marked or even double teamed, and yet, with his soccer knowledge he was able to break the scoring record for the program.
Jack was asked about the defenses and he said since he was in youth soccer, he has had the same defense played on him. So having this knowledge under his belt, Jack never gets rattled and looks to anticipate what his defender is going to do and strikes while the iron is hot for his scoring chances or setting up a teammate.
Over the past two years, Tobin said he hasn’t seen Jack get frustrated or upset in a game and has been the calm in the storm for many of the intense games that the Livingston County league can produce.
On any given night, anyone could beat another team in the league. So there have been moments that a team member might get frustrated. However, being a quiet leader, Jack has the ability to recognize this. When his teammates would get frustrated over a physical play or a call, Jack would calm them down for a second. He would preach “do not commit an unnecessary foul” and let’s win this one.
There is never time to rest for soccer as Jack plays for Rochester NY FC in the off season. Jack travels North on I-390 two nights a week for training throughout the winter. In the spring, the team will be traveling through the east coast attending showcase tournaments.
This is where Jack is hoping that a college will see his abilities and will lead to being able to play college soccer.
When talking to Jack, it’s clear that the honor is very meaningful and he said he couldn’t do it without his coach and teammates behind him.
When asked to name one player or coach that has helped you along the way, without hesitation he says Randy Riley, one of his youth coaches from his years playing for the Steuben County Strikers.
“Randy told me from the beginning to never give up never get frustrated,” Emo said. “He would tell us ‘just go out there and do your best every game’ and that has always stuck in my mind, so just wanted to say thank you to Randy.”
We at the Hornell Sun would like to congratulate Jack on his accomplishments and look forward to following him during his senior year for the Hornell Red Raiders.
Photos by STEVE HARRISON: