At the start of the year, Eagles midfielder Dylan Piper-Bye had no idea he’d become a regular starter in the Pascoe Cup and bag three goals for the season, all before his 16th birthday.
Piper-Bye has been a standout in the Eagles side this year, getting his start in reserve grade before performances elevated him to first grade and forced coach Matthew Lopez to build a position in the midfield just to accommodate him.
Playing soccer since he was old enough to lace up his boots, Piper-Bye has always been a prominent player in whatever team he takes the field for, with pinpoint passing and strong finishing just some of the skills at his disposal.
But the humble 15-year-old attributes a lot of his success this year to the support and experience of the players around him.
“The older boys showed me how to play and really helped me improve my game from the under 16s comp,” he said.
“I played in the center and had a lot of good players around me, I think I went pretty good in the midfield.
“I had a lot of time on the ball and was able to create some opportunities.
“I was quite happy to score three goals I wasn’t expecting to score any in my first year.”
The Eagles season came to a close last weekend with their 2-all draw against Leeton United.
The Eagles endured a frustrating season which featured many come from behind defeats and disappointing losses which prevented them from capitalizing on the success of winning the Pascoe Plate last year.
Scoring goals was never an issue for the potent Eagles attack, but Piper-Bye says their downfall this season came in the later stages of matches.
“Our second half finishing wasn’t as good as it could be,” he said.
“We had a lot of games where we were up and just lost it in the second half and we just seemed to lose it in the end.
“Once the other team scores our team sort of drops their heads and lets them back into the game.
“A few results didn’t go our way but all in all it was a good season.”
The Eagles finished in eighth position on the ladder and missed out on a spot in the finals by two places.
The disappointing result is a far cry from what the talented young side is capable of achieving and caps off a difficult year for the team.
But despite the results, Piper-Bye enjoyed every second of his debut year in first grade and continued to improve with every outing in the yellow and black kit.
“I’m happy that I got to play in first grade this year but I’m still disappointed in the result,” he said.
“I thought I played all right throughout the season but there’s still a lot of things to be worked on.
“Being my first year I’m still learning the ropes.”
Soccer isn’t the only sport which Piper-Bye focuses on, also being a handy cricketer and excelling in athletics where he is currently preparing for a second level school athletics carnival.
But with the soccer season wrapped up, the talented midfielder is grateful for his first experience in the Pascoe Cup and is already looking forward to next year.
“Looking forward to next year I think it will be another great experience,” he said.
“I just hope next year we can try push for finals because we’ve got the team to do it .”