Weekly Feature



2017-11-08 / Sports

East’s Ford named Player of the Year

All-Bee Girls Soccer
PATRICK NAGY
Sports Reporter


Williamsville East’s Tess Ford followed in the footsteps of East grad and two-time honoree Marissa Birzon after Ford was named the 2017 All-Bee Girls Soccer Player of the Year. The five-year starter finished her high school career with 45 assists, which was ranked fifth all-time at East, and 39 goals. 
File photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Williamsville East’s Tess Ford followed in the footsteps of East grad and two-time honoree Marissa Birzon after Ford was named the 2017 All-Bee Girls Soccer Player of the Year. The five-year starter finished her high school career with 45 assists, which was ranked fifth all-time at East, and 39 goals. File photo by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Tess Ford has been a steady presence in the midfield for years for the Williamsville East girls soccer team but with the graduation of the school’s all-time leading scorer, Marissa Birzon, the five-year starter took her game to a whole new level this fall.

The 2017 All-Bee Girls Soccer Player of the Year followed in the footsteps of Birzon —All-Bee Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016 — by tallying a career-high 18 goals and nine assists for 45 points.

“Marissa has always been an inspiration to me, so I’m really excited to be named player of the year,” Ford said.

“She’s been the typical center midfielder for us,” East coach Chris Durr said. “That means she’s been level-headed and she defends as well as she distributes the ball. She’s worked hard in the last couple of years to improve the offensive part of the game. You don’t get a lot of five-year starters often and when they are juniors and seniors, it’s like they have been with you forever.”

Birzon tallied at least a point in 13 of the Lady Flames’ 19 games. She scored the game-winning goal in a regular-season game against Hamburg and assisted Bella Buscaglia on the game-winning goal in East’s 1-0 win over Hamburg in the Section VI Class A-1 semifinals.

“We passed a lot this year, so I was able to have more opportunities to shoot,” Ford said. “I think that was one of the main reasons why I was able to score more.”

Ford, a two-time captain, and fellow senior captains Mikayla Crofford and Chloe Berti, also followed in Birzon’s footsteps as leaders to guide a starting roster that included two eighth-graders, a freshman and three sophomores.

“I think with Tess having been a young player on varsity, she really understood what it was like to know what the younger kids have to go through,” Durr said. “I think she, along with the other captains, welcomed the young kids in, and realized that if they can help us win, that they need to be a part of the team.”

“I think myself and the other captains and seniors brought the team together,” Ford said. “All of the younger kids stepped up, so it helped us be as successful as we were.”

Durr described Ford as a player who led by example on and off the field.

“She’s a quiet, reserved kid,” Durr said. “She’s not the type of player that goes out there and yells and screams, but she leads more by example with her play, intensity and practice habits. You hope that other kids learn from that, that not every captain has to be a vocal leader and sometimes it’s more important that the silent but physical, mental leader, is sometimes way more important than someone who needs to yell at kids or get loud.”

The only disappointing part of Ford’s senior season was that she could not win a section title, losing to Grand Island, 1-0, in the Section VI Class A-1 final. East finished with a 17-2 record.

Ford finished her career with 39 goals and 45 assists. The 45 assists are ranked fifth all-time at East.

“It’s been a pleasure to have her for five years and not have to worry about her position because she works so hard,” Durr said. “Tess is the last of the Fords to play for me. Her sister, Michelle, played with her when Tess was an eighth-grader and a freshman. It’s sad to see her go.”

Ford, who also plays for the WNY Flash Academy, has verbally committed to play soccer at Marist College.

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