Fisher brothers bond through soccer
By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY – Salisbury junior Banks Fisher had a choice to make this summer that would change his soccer life forever.
The two roads led to different teams, different coaches and different futures. One would include his brother Max and the other friends he’s garnered across the soccer ranks.
Down the street was the defending state 2A champion Salisbury, where Max would start his prep career. Up I-85 in Greensboro was the North Carolina Fusion, a team that plays under the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Starting this year, all 78 of the Academy teams require a 10-month season. The season length bolsters an effort by the Academy to strengthen youth soccer and its development in the U.S. Where the Academy differs from AAU basketball or travel baseball is that, as of this year, players have to forego playing for their school if they wish to continue playing in the Academy.
That forces prospective players like Banks into a quandry. Do you pursue an outlet that will cater to the fullfillment of a dream or represent your school and community along with a sibling you’ve always played with? Banks got a lesson in opportunity costs, ultimately deciding to join the top players in the country in the Academy. In the end, the showcasing himself among the elite merited the sacrifice of playing with local peers. Banks is the lone player in the county making the choice. It wasn’t an easy one.
“I sat down with [Salisbury coach] Matt Parrish two or three times, a bunch of coaches, my dad and a really close friend of mine,” Banks said. “We felt that if I wanted to play at the next level this would be best. ”
Banks played sparingly in net last year with Old Dominion signee Connor Miller seeing most of the time. Miller was East-West All-Star selection and was all-region three times after becoming a starting goalie in 2009. With Miller gone, Banks would have picked up the slack for the Hornets. Parrish, and other prep coaches, suffer from the new rule.
“You understand why it’s appetizing for the player to go play at that level,” Parrish said. “On the other hand, as a high school coach it’s unprecedented…ultimately speaking, I think it’s what’s best for United States soccer but that’s 20 to 30 guys. The other 5,835 kids or whatever it is don’t quite see to that level.”
So in steps Max to guard the net for the defending state 2A champs. Max is a freshman who’s tending net for the 6-1-1 Hornets and facing a lot as a first-year goalie of a team defending a state title not to mention having to follow Miller.
“Max has come in here in a really tough spot,” Parrish said. “He’s a freshman. We’re the defending state champions. He’s replacing his brother and friends with all the players on the team. He’s got to live up to all those expectations.”
Banks, who also played basketball and baseball up until freshman year, said his decision not to be confined by the posts at Ludwig Stadium was a tough one, After consulting with Parrish, other coaches and his family
“It’s just such a high level of play, you’re forced to get better,” Banks said. “Otherwise you’ll get left behind.”
So far, Banks is gettting some college attention. His 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame helps and he utilizes a solid acumen from playing since he was young.
“Banks reads the game exceptionally well,” Parrish said. “What he may lack in minor athleticism, his mental capacity and his frame allows him to dictate play. He can make the routine save with ease and the challenging ”
Much like his position, Banks can’t look behind him, he can only concentrate on what’s to come.
“I think it was a good decision for him,” Max said. “He wants to play at the next level and that’s one of the best ways.”