Greece Odyssey's Victorin Kothor tied for third in scoring in Monroe County this season, and the Togo native has another year left of soccer ahead of him.
Victorin Kothor doesn't really remember much about his early days coming to America from Togo, located in Western Africa. He knows he was six and that he had some early trouble figuring out what people around him were saying. After all Ewe - a dialect of French - was his native language and what he was used to hearing.
But Kothor is undoubtedly a quick learner. It didn't take him long to master English and our culture. He schooled at Holy Family before getting to Odyssey as a seventh grader. One of the first things he did was join the soccer team
"I wanted to be a part of something and sports was real big here," he said. "I liked the game so I wanted to try and play it."
He played it and he played it well. The following year he was called up to varsity late in the season and by the time he was a freshman he was starting for coach Matt Vergamini's team.
"He was always very fast but when he was younger he would just rely on speed to get by everyone," Vergamini said. "Over these last few years he has really worked on his touch and dribbling ability and has become a complete player."
Kothor had a great season for the Leopards. He scored 13 goals with two assists in 17 games. It placed him third in all of Monroe County behind players from Spencerport and Webster Schroeder. He was the top scorer of all Greece players, ahead of Joey Biuso of Athena who had 11 regular season goals.
"I have always been a forward and I have always wanted to try and score as many goals as I can to help my team win," Kothor said. "It's a good feeling because you know it brings your team closer to victory."
Kothor also said that he has learned a lot about what it takes to be a leader and that he has grown as a person in his time at Odyssey.
Coach Vergamini must have agreed, honoring him with one of the captain's titles before the year.
"We actually have a program that our captains have to go through where they read a book about what it takes to be a leader and then we talk about it," Vergamini said. "It's not taken lightly."
Kothor was quick to admit the process helped him.
"I have always been outspoken but when I was younger I didn't consider people's feelings as much," he said. "I'd get frustrated and get mad and it would show. That is not what a leader does. A leader tries their hardest to be a positive model and someone who the team can come to for advice. It is about what sacrifices have to be made. It is about how to treat teammates and coaches the right way."
Kothor was also pleased to assume the role as his teammates have a say in the process.
"It feels good knowing it comes from your peers." he said.
Vic, as his friends call him, still has a year left to play and polish his skills further. Odyssey recently had their season ended after being defeated by Waterloo in the opening round of the Class B sectionals by a 1-0 score.
They finished 8-9 overall.
"I felt bad for the seniors because we wanted to get a title for them," Kothor said. "But we just have to work harder now to get one for next season."
The year ahead will also be one more to see if soccer will be in his future..
"I would like to play in college, but I am going more for the education," he said. "If it happens to be a place where I can play that would be great. It depends where I end up going."
He also plays soccer for the Greece Buccaneers and Rochester Futbol Club.
While Kothor may not have the attention he deserves around Section 5, that may be because the Leopards play just half of a league schedule. Still, Vergamini says there is no shortage of buzz when team's do see him play.
"He is the guy that people and coaches ask about after the game," Vergamini said. "Coaches want to know if he has any years left. He is the guy that team's prepare for and talk about."
Vergamini also credited Kothor's ability to adapt to a game-plan against him as a reason for his increased success.
And while soccer season is over, Kothor is also decorated in indoor track in the winter. He won the sectional title in the Class D triple jump last season and says he is probably going to compete again this year.
But his mind is never far from soccer.
"As a senior I'd really like to score more and get my assists up," he said. "I want to improve my knowledge of the game and become an overall better player. We will have a lot to prove next season."