STANFORD - This is shaping up to be the best year of Carter Dunn’s soccer life.
He is coming off a summer of unforgettable experiences in a prestigious youth soccer program, and he is diving into a fall season with Lincoln County that he hopes will be every bit as memorable.
Dunn, a senior stroker, is one of the top offensive threats on a team that he hopes can follow two stellar seasons with an even better year.
“We feel this season will be different than any other season,” he said.
Dunn was one of 22 players picked for the Kentucky under-17 team in U.S. Youth Soccer’s Olympic Development Program, and he said the experiences he gained have made him a better player.
“That’s such an honor just to be chosen for that team,” Dunn said. “When we went to the regional tournament, there were players I’ve never seen that were amazing, and our team was pretty amazing, too.”
The selection of any Lincoln player to such a program would have been amazing in itself just a few years ago. Lincoln soccer seasons were mostly unremarkable until 2010, but the Patriots won 15 games that season and followed that with 13 wins and their first district championship in 2011.
Now in a new, more difficult district that includes Danville and Boyle County, Dunn said they’re better prepared for the challenge in their first year under coach Chaz Garcia.
“We’ve just really come together as a group, actually. We’ve become more of a team,” Dunn said. “We’ve gotten better with our touches, and we just talk more as a team.”
The ball often finds its way to Dunn, who has 10 goals for Lincoln (4-1), even though he missed one of the Patriots’ five games.
“(Garcia has) moved people around. We’re playing a new formation. We’re becoming a bit more of an offensive team, in my opinion, instead of just trying to possess,” he said.
Dunn, who tried out for the Kentucky under-13 ODP¿team four years ago but failed to make the cut, was one of 22 chosen for the under-17 team from among 35 who tried out in March. Those 22 players were together for training and tournament play, and the roster was trimmed to 18 for the regional tournament against ODP¿teams from 11 Midwestern states July 13-15 in Rockford, Ill., where the Kentucky squad reached the semifinals before losing to a Michigan team on penalty kicks.
“You have to be able to just mesh as a team within a couple of days,” Dunn said. “It’s the best experience I’ve ever had.”
Dunn attended consecutive camps at Georgetown, Kentucky and Lindsey Wilson. He hopes to hone his skills to become able to play collegiate soccer, and he has his eye on one of those schools.
“I’m really wanting to go to Georgetown if I’m able to,” he said, “but I’ve got to get better.”