A Clinton High rising senior, Colin Faulkner is probably one of the best 2A conference soccer goalkeepers in the state. He was the only goalie named to the eastern All-Region team and was also nominated for the All-County team and All-Conference team.
That’s a true honor, especially for someone who wasn’t confident about holding down that position in the early years of his career.
His early years in sports began when Faulkner was five and played soccer and T-ball for the recreation league. He said he was about nine years old when his then rec soccer coach, Ken Yang, put him at the goalie position.
“I was a field player. I didn’t really want to be the goalie,” Faulkner stated.
He said doubts about his size chipped away at his confidence even though he was able to stop most of the same balls taller goalies couldn’t stop. “I’d seen taller goalies do the same stuff I do. They might can get a higher ball, but that’s about it,” he said about his abilities at the net.
Yang, who is now the coach for the travel team, Clinton United, which Faulkner plays on, was also the one who gave him his confidence back. “Coach Yang told me to never think I was too short to be a goalie. He gave me the confidence to be in that position,” Faulkner asserted.
“My confidence got down because I felt like I had to stop every ball. I still feel like that now, but I know that it’s not always my fault if a ball gets through. I still get upset if they score on me, but I don’t let it bother me like it used to,” he added.
Faulkner, who is also a starter on the varsity baseball team, and a county swimmer, said soccer is his favorite sport. “I’ve played it all my life and I’ve played with the same team since I was little. I’ve played baseball as long as I’ve played soccer, but I feel like you can bond better as a team in soccer. With baseball, I’ve played with a bunch of different teams, but in soccer, I’m playing with the same boys since I was about five years old. The whole team is really close,” he expressed.
Faulkner said he will never forget what it felt like for the team to make history for Clinton High on the soccer field.
“My best memory is winning 21 games — it’s the most any Clinton High team has won — and going to the fourth round of the state playoffs - that’s the furthest any (Clinton) team has ever gone. Just getting to experience that with the guys who have been your teammates since you were five years old was great,” he recalled.
To top that off, Faulkner made team and school history with the most saves ever and was credited wit the most shutouts. “I think the saves were around 160, but I’m not sure of the exact number,” he said modestly. The Dark Horses shut out 16 of the teams they competed against last season.
The team came in second in their conference and made it to the fourth round of the state 2A playoffs. “I hope we make it to the state championship and win it all this year,” Faulkner said with a smile.
While on the soccer field, Faulkner guards the goal, on the baseball field the teen-ager guards the plate. “I’ve always been a catcher. I never really wanted to try any other position,” the young man attested.
He was named to both the All-Conference and All-County teams in baseball, too.
Faulkner agreed that despite the differences in the two sports, the two positions - catcher and goalkeeper - have a lot in common. “I can see the whole field in both positions. I like that because I feel like I’m in control. I can tell my (soccer) defense where to mark up and in baseball I can tell the pitcher what pitches to throw,” he explained.
His best baseball memory from this past season was the team’s win against Topsail.
“They were at the top of the conference when we played them. We went down 6 runs to 1 and then came back in the last inning and beat them 7 to 6,” he recalled
The baseball team finished third in their conference last season, but Faulkner said he believed the team will be better next year. “We have a bunch of younger guys who have talent moving up and we’re bringing back about four juniors to the team,” he stated.
Faulkner said baseball was his first love until he and his family of soccer teammates showed just how good they were.
“Baseball was my favorite sport until the ninth grade, when I realized how good our soccer team was. I feel like we’ve got a better chance to win the state championship,” he admitted.
The teen-ager said playing team sports has helped him get along better with others. “I’ve learned how to bond with people better,” he said.
Faulkner said his high school soccer coach, Brad Spell, came up with an motto that’s spelled out at Clinton’s soccer stadium.
“For soccer, our coach came up with this thing called ‘Darkness’, and it is ‘Through Darkness the eyes will see,’ which means you’re going to go through bad times but you’ve still got to stay as a team and the good times will come,” Faulkner explained.
He said his parents, Cindy and Herbert Faulkner, and his grandparents, Dottie and Jimmy Osbourne, all support him in his athletic endeavors. “Each one has tried to tell me little things to make me better, like talking to me about attitude and the way you carry yourself on the field, and also skill-wise.”
Academically, Faulkner said he is an A-B student whose favorite subject is science.
Away from sports, he likes to hunt deer and fish in the three ponds that are near his house. This summer he is working as a lifeguard at Kirkwood pool.