By Maureen Hart
Noah Barton, a 17-year-old senior at Dunmore High School, has experienced amazing highs and devastating lows during his four year career on the school’s varsity soccer team.
Noah, who started every game since his freshman year playing on the varsity team, suffered a torn right ACL playing indoor soccer last February 18.
As a result, despite all those starts and his phenomenal play, Noah has had to sit out his entire senior season.
While he admits this development has been difficult, the young man is making the best of a bad situation by attending every varsity game and assisting Coach Chris Phillips.
And Barton does have the excitement of watching his 14-year-old brother, Aden (also a starter as a freshman on varsity), although he is disappointed not to have the experience of actually playing with his brother at DHS.
“After the injury, it was very difficult for me” Noah admits. “I gained weight and felt so frustrated.”
His reconstructive surgery was completed on April 12, but he will not be cleared to play again until February, 2019.
For his senior year, despite the injury, Noah was selected as a team captain, and he says he enjoys the new experience of coaching.
“I have always wanted to be helping the team, seeing it grow,” he points out. “I’m just forced to do that in a different way this year.”
Noah, who is the son of Heather Evans, a director of Scranton Counseling center (“She’s a huge fan,” he confides), also gives credit to the big role his stepfather, Dan Evans, has played in his life. “He would do anything for us,” Noah says. “He is a great human being.”
“My mother has been such a huge influence in my life,” Noah explains. “We are very close, and she has taught me to respect other people, to have good values, and how to act in various situations.”
The family resides on West Grove Street, and their lawn is dotted with signs supporting both boys and their team.
Another influence has been Coach Phillips. “Among other things, he has taught me to be more of a team player, and how to control my anger. I used to get so upset over fouls!”
One of his favorite memories of his high school career was the first time he scored in a home game during his freshman year. “I can remember exactly how it happened,” he confides. “It was a long goal, from about 30 yards out, and I scored in the top right corner of the goal.”
He went on to score 17 goals, the most on the team, during his sophomore year, and as a junior, he scored 18 goals and made the All Stars first team. One of his favorite memories was scoring two goals against the long-time undefeated Blue Ridge soccer team.
Noah’s interest in soccer began when he was five or six years old. He began playing competitively at age 12 or 13 on a travel team, and says he liked the game from the very beginning. At Dunmore High, he started as a defensive midfielder, but then became a forward.
“I just love soccer,” he says. “It consumes my whole life–whether I’m watching games, playing or learning the game. Even my job revolves around soccer.” Noah works at Soccer Plus in Clarks Summit.
After a lifetime passion for soccer, Noah envisioned playing his senior season with his brother, and having colleges take a look at him on the field. Instead, he has been doing physical therapy and working out every morning at 5:30. He completed the Race for the Cure last month, demonstrating his great progress since the injury.
Some colleges are showing interest, so Noah is sending out videos from past seasons. He is looking forward to next year, and says it will be a decision based on where he wants to go to school and who wants him to play.
Noah’s mother has seen him go through all of the ups and downs, and she says, “He was very down about the injury, but he is getting better as he is able to be more active.
“Naturally, it’s devastating when something like this happens, especially during the senior season. But Noah is trying to put it into perspective and go forward with a positive attitude.”
As Heather notes, “This has been heartbreaking for the whole family, because Noah had worked so hard. But we know it could be much worse. He could have a serious illness or something. This is something he can come back from.”
Naturally, Noah passes some of his time watching professional soccer, and his favorite team is Real Madrid. He became interested in the team when Cristiano Rinaldo was playing in Madrid.
“My family descent is Portuguese, so I liked that he was from Portugal,” Noah says. “But more than that, I think he is such a good team player and has a great winning attitude.”
As he finishes his senior year at Dunmore High School and looks ahead to college, Noah says he will really miss the school, and especially his teachers.
“I love Dunmore,” he concludes. “It’s the best place to be.”