KARNS CITY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — The intent is the same for Mallick Metcalfe, even though the position is different.
Don’t let the other team score.
Metcalfe did a good job of that as a goalkeeper for the Karns City boys soccer team the last two seasons. Last year, he posted 10 shutouts for the Gremlins on the way to a District 9 championship.
But this season, the junior will give up his goalie gloves and play in the field as a defender.
“We have a younger kid coming up who can play goal, so we’re going to test that out,” Metcalfe said. “We lost a lot of our starting defenders from last year, so we decided to test the waters a little bit with me in there. I’m excited about it. I’m excited to try something new.”
Metcalfe was very open to the switch. He wanted to get back into the field, stretch his legs and mix it up instead of waiting for the action to come to him. It’s how he’s built. It’s how a rolls.
He has Rock Star hair, a flowing raven mane that harkens back to the Hair Band days of the 1980s. It’s his signature look and sums up his play on the soccer pitch.
Wild. Choreographed chaos.
“I’ve had long hair since I was 6,” Metcalfe said.
“I thought about cutting it and donating it,” he added, letting out a chuckle, “but I think it has to stay.”
Metcalfe hopes to stay in the field.
That will depend on how sophomore Lucas Yasika performs as the new goalkeeper for the Gremlins this season. If holds his own, Metcalfe will be free to roam the center of the Karns City defense. If Yasika falters, Metcalfe is aware he may be slipping on his orange No. 99 jersey and goalie gloves again.
“Mallick is a good field player. There’s no problem with that defensively,” said Karns City coach Jim Grenninger. “We’re hoping that the other young gentleman stays strong enough that we can do that. But I told him, if it starts to fall aside, then you’ll probably be back in net if we need you there.”
Metcalfe started as a freshman as a defender, but moved into goal midway through the season. He acquitted himself well in that role, winning his first nine starts.
He picked up right where he left off last season as a sophomore with 13 wins and recorded a shutout in the 1-0 win over Punxsutawney in the District 9 2A title game.
“He does some great things for us,” Grenninger said. “I think other than the two Slippery Rock games, one we played shorthanded for like 30 minutes, he gave up three goals all season.”
Metcalfe, though, can have an even bigger impact in the field, using his athleticism, strength and tenacity to make sure the opponent doesn’t even get a chance to test Yasika.
“Our No. 1 priority is not let the other team even shoot,” Metcalfe said. “You don’t get recognized back there, but that’s OK. It’s out job to make sure the ball doesn’t even get to the net.”
Metcalfe is also a standout baseball player as an infielder and pitcher for the Gremlins. Baseball is his first love and that’s the sport he hopes to play one day in college.
He began playing baseball at the age of 4 and first pitched when he was 7. His hallmark on the hill is his control and his uncanny ability to just get people out any way he can.
“I just work on location,” Metcalfe said. “That’s probably my best pitching attribute is my control.”
Baseball also helped Metcalfe as a goalkeeper.
He was a catcher for a time and blocking pitches in the dirt helped him with his quickness in blocking shots on goal.
“I think that’s where I got my reactions,” Metcalfe said. “It’s kind of the same kind of thing.”
Karns City, despite losing some big names from that District 9 championship team — like Dakota King, Owen Collwell, Kaden Scherer and Chase Beighley — still has high hopes for the 2021 campaign.
Namely adding another district title.
“We’ve been in the D9 finals for the last seven year,” Grenninger said. “They don’t want to be that first group to not make it in awhile. The ability is there. They just need to play together a little more. Our expectations are high.”
So are Metcalfe’s.
“I want to go undefeated,” he said, “and win D9 again.”