All-Metro Boys Soccer Player of the Year: Cathedral’s Garrity stepped back to lead team

Published 8:41 pm Thursday, May 12, 2022

NATCHEZ — Cathedral senior Joseph Garrity said he knew this season was going to be tough before it started. The Green Wave lost six seniors and defender  Paxton Junkin didn’t return for his senior season. 

Using his experiences and desire to help the team win no matter what, he stepped back to take a leadership role. It is his ability to lead the team by example as goalkeeper and midfielder that makes him the Natchez Democrat All-Metro Boys Soccer player of the year. 

Head Coach Dennis Hogue said he always built the team up and is a student of the game in an interview following Garrity’s last game. They needed his expertise with a young squad to help build for the future. 

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Cathedral did not have a JV team because the junior varsity aged players had to play up on varsity and he was the only senior on the team. 

Interim head coach Rick Simons asked him to take a midfielder role to help the team after a loss to Oak Forest. He stepped up and it made a difference in their performances as they played well in defeats to Brookhaven Academy and Copiah Academy. 

“I was taught to leave something better than you found it. I think I left it better than I found it,” Garrity said. “This team will be strong next season. The younger kids will have a year of growth and should be bigger next year. They are going to be pretty good.” 

It was the first time he played a game out of goal since his freshman year. The first match was tough, he said. Typically, if he was out of goal it was to be in the midfield for 10 minutes to try and score. The short amount of time required him to give 110 percent in a sprint to the final whistle. It took him until the BA game to figure out the best way to go about the game. 

Instead of going too hard and returning home bruised and battered, he stepped back and worked the ball better. 

The team  started to click and he started to help the team get closer to beating their opponents. There were a few games they could have won but lost, he said. They had a few chances against Brookhaven Academy had they scored they might have turned their season around.

Cathedral finished the district season  2-6 with their wins coming against Adams County Christian School. They missed the playoffs after making it the year before to break a 10 year drought. 

Garrity’s proudest moments of his career came from his junior season. It was his season, he said. The 2-1 win against ACCS to reach the playoffs was special and a 1-0 loss to Hartfield Academy in the first round was the best he had ever played in goal.

“It was the most tiring game I have ever played in goal. It was my proudest moment though,” Garrity said. “The Hartfield players, who destroyed teams all year, came up to me after the game and told me and Paxton we were good players. Their head coach told me I was the best goalkeeper they have ever played. It made me proud.” 

The game he should be proudest of had to be the last game against AC for the season. Garrity played in the midfield for his last game and wanted to score so badly against the cross town rivals. He noted he had never scored against them. 

The first half it was hard to create chances as the Rebels doubled and tripled teamed him. It worked as he couldn’t score and it kept the Green Wave off of the board. Head Coach Dennis Hogue asked him to pass the ball more and he did. 

The first goal was an assist to John Carter and it got the ball rolling as he finished the game with four assists. It was an emotional end to his career and 19 years of Garritys playing soccer for Cathedral. 

“I had played soccer since I was three and four. I grew up playing with my siblings and Cathedral. It just hit me all at once after the game,” Garrity said. “It was pretty weird the next couple of days. I knew I wasn’t ever going to soccer practice again. It was tough for about a week there.”

The senior gave everything to the program. Before the final whistle against Brookhaven Academy on Jan. 13, he dropped to the ground exhausted after covering every blade of grass. It was a fun but tough season. 

Garrity said he will miss soccer but knew his career would have to end somewhere. He will attend Ole Miss and go to law school. He said the soccer player of the year honor was a pat on the back. 

“Every once in a while the pat on the back feels good. It means someone has seen your hard work and the hard work has paid off,” Garrity said. “Soccer is not a one person sport. It is a team sport. I wouldn’t be anyone without the boys on the team and Dennis and Rick pushing us to be the best we could be. It all starts with practicing.”