Winning never gets old or tiresome for the Hayes twins.
A little more than a month after helping Mattituck High School earn the New York State Class B championship, James and Paul Hayes celebrated yet another title. The seniors played vital roles for the Middle Country United ISA Boys Under-18 team, which captured the Disney Showcase Black U-18/19 Division title in Orlando, Fla.
Disney attracts some of the best teams in the country.
“We would like to think we made a positive impact on both teams to help win Disney,” Paul said. “It was very good. We went down to Florida and the weather was beautiful, much better than here.”
Middle Country finished undefeated (4-0), securing the title with a 3-1 victory over Solar Chelsea 97 (Texas) while outscoring its foes, 12-3.
“I’m not going to say there was not much competition, but the games that we played we definitely played good, hard-nosed soccer,” Paul said. “Just good all-around team win, which was great. We didn’t go down with a whole lot of players, but the players who did go down really showed their true value to the team.”
The team had 13 players and was forced to play a majority of the competition with only one substitute after a player was injured.
“Actually, one of the guest players who played on our team is actually a college soccer player who played at Dominican College,” Paul said. “I consider him a better captain than I ever will be. He’s just a great leader. I learned so much from him.”
It certainly wasn’t an accident that Middle Country’s winning team included several players from Commack High School’s Class AA state championship team.
“The one thing that separates us from other teams on Long Island is that every player on our team knows how to win,” James said. “They know how to win a game through thick and thin, which I think is pretty unique about our team.”
The brothers assumed the positions they had played for the Tuckers during their state title run — James at center midfield, Paul at center back.
That certainly gave the side a unique advantage.
“Paul and I playing through the middle, we just set the tempo of the whole game,” James said. “We controlled the whole pace and teams got really frustrated with how well our team kept the ball.”
Paul agreed. “Him and I were just stringing passes,” he said. “We just connected so well. It’s probably because we’re twins and we know exactly what we’re going to do when we pass the ball. The teams that we played, if we had to play them again, I think we would beat them nine times out of 10.”
They plan to participate in a college showcase in Manhattan in February and compete with Middle Country in the Region I league this spring.
“Our team goal this year is to hopefully get to nationals,” James said.
The Hayes brothers haven’t yet made a final decision as to which college they will attend, although they are leaning toward one school.
“We definitely want to play college soccer together,” Paul said. “We’re narrowing down our decisions. We don’t know yet. Hopefully we will find out in the next couple of weeks. Right now our number one school is LIU Post. The way they play soccer, and the school, the campus is beautiful. The game is beautiful there. It’s just awesome. I think we can help that program and they can make us better players.”
And perhaps add another title or two to their collection.