The secret is out. Kuba Kodym is a player. He can create goals and he can score goals.
Oh boy, can he score goals!
Ironically, Kodym didn’t score for Mattituck in its Suffolk County League VII boys soccer game Friday. He was, however, the difference-maker with a free kick that set up Wesley Secaida’s goal for a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Pierson/Bridgehampton in Sag Harbor.
Kodym, a junior center midfielder, is in his first varsity season but, more importantly, a product of the BARCA Academy, which is affiliated with Spanish soccer giant FC Barcelona. He still has a way to go, but Kodym is flirting with what could be an historic season. He has 21 goals in 14 games for the Tuckers. With regular-season games remaining against Center Moriches and Smithtown Christian and then the playoffs, he is six goals shy of tying Kevin Litchhult’s school-record, single-season mark of 27 goals, set in 1999.
In his brief time in a Mattituck uniform, Kodym has proven to be a quality talent, a threat to score whenever the ball is at his feet. He picked up his ninth assist Friday.
“He’s just so aggressive,” Mattituck coach Dan O’Sullivan said. “He gets the ball, he puts his head down and he just goes at goal. A lot of our guys like to pass. He’s just the guy that will dribble, dribble, dribble, and his field vision is so incredible. He knows when he can take a guy on, and he knows when he has to play a ball in.”
Because Kodym is new to school ball and had devoted his playing time to the BARCA Academy, he may have flown in under the radar entering the season. In his first game, he fired in three goals against Southold. And so it began. He leads Suffolk in goals and points, according to Newsday.
Kodym may have even been an unknown to some of his teammates before preseason training. Asked if he knew Kodym could play like this before preseason practices began, Secaida answered, “No, I had no idea.”
How long did it take Secaida to realize what a special talent Kodym is?
“On the first day,” said Secaida, who has eight goals and 11 assists himself.
Kodym’s ball skills and physicality caught his attention. It has since drawn the attention of opponents, who have given him the proper respect.
“The last three, four, five games he’s getting double-, triple-teamed,” O’Sullivan said. “Yeah, when we’re playing teams like Babylon, Southampton, he picks up his head and there’s four guys around him. So he’s learning to just try to get other guys involved.”
Kodym fired off a game-high eight shots Friday, but it was his 22-yard free kick that made all the difference. He curled the ball to the left of the defensive wall with perfect placement for Secaida to tap in near the far left goalpost with 11 minutes, 11 seconds left in the first half. “Kuba magic and a nice deflection by Wesley,” said O’Sullivan.
Mattituck (12-2, 12-2) outshot Pierson (7-6, 7-6) by a 23-7 count and might have had more goals to show for its efforts if not for the goalkeeping of Gavin Gilbride (nine saves). “He was terrific,” said Pierson coach Peter Solow.
Meanwhile, Mattituck goalie Garrett Grathwohl (six saves), with help from center backs Liam Buckley and Jude Couch, left back Shane Clark and right back Sean Szcotka, posted his fifth shutout of the season. Jack Golder has the team’s other five shutouts.
Mattituck was missing two players, left back Burke Evers (wisdom teeth) and defensive midfielder Erick Morales (work commitment). Their absences allowed Brady Dwyer and Tommy McGunnigle to pick up big minutes.
Kodym’s presence has impacted Mattituck in a number of ways. It has opened scoring opportunities for players like Erik McKenna (five goals, seven assists), Cris Arreola (four goals) and Andy Catalan (four goals).
So, what does Kodym prefer, scoring goals or setting them up?
“I enjoy both equally,” he said. “It’s all just the win. That’s all I care about, just winning.”
Kodym’s presence has been a blessing for Mattituck.
“He showed up at preseason, and he would do two sessions with us and then go to the city for practice at night, four or five nights a week,” O’Sullivan said. “He’s never tired, and he’s been at everything. We didn’t know if he was going to miss things for his academy. He hasn’t missed a game, he hasn’t missed a practice, so you could tell he really enjoys it.”
And the Tuckers surely enjoy having him. Opponents? Not so much.