Marbleheaders spark Prep soccer’s chemical reaction

The role and importance of chemistry is oft-debated in the sports world, but you won’t find any doubters on the 2022 St. John’s Prep varsity soccer roster.

In fact, from top to bottom, the recently crowned state champions view chemistry a little like fictional Wall Street icon Gordon Gecko viewed greed. Chemistry is good. Chemistry works. Chemistry clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. 

Just ask either of the two Marblehead residents who were key components of St. John Prep’s extraordinary, unbeaten run to the state title this past fall.

“The team chemistry was off the charts,” said Callum Rigby, an attacking midfielder, 17, who grew up on Selman Street. “I think I’ll remember the camaraderie most, whether it was singing on the bus, locker room chats or team dinners. I think winning came as a result of the close relationships throughout the team.” 

Senior St. John’s Prep midfielder and Marblehead resident Callum Rigby (7) sparked the soccer program to its first state title since 2006 thanks to what his coach calls ‘an excellent first touch, strong dribbling skills and the ability to change directions on a dime.’

Rigby added that selflessness formed an immovable retaining wall that buttressed those relationships.

“Everyone recognized their role was to help the team win, and earning minutes individually was put on the backburner for team success,” he said. “I’m a big believer in ‘iron sharpens iron,’ and I definitely think this attitude is mainly what allowed us to go undefeated [22-0-1] and become state champions.”

Of course, Rigby’s 13 goals and four assists didn’t hurt. Prep soccer head coach Dave Crowell, who just completed his 22nd season at the Eagles helm, credits Rigby for his contributions — not just for the senior’s habitual presence in the box score, but also for being the ringleader of the Eagles “us not me” ethos last fall. 

“For me, his greatest strengths are his unselfish play and his coachability,” he says. “He looks to move the ball to the right spot through his dribbling, rather than prioritizing setting up his own shot.”

Meanwhile, junior forward and Clifton Avenue resident Graham Kramer brought his own skill set and metaphorical seasoning to the Prep’s championship brew. He recorded 12 points on the attack, but what he’ll remember more than putting balls in the back of the net will be — wait for it — the team’s immutable chemistry.

Junior forward Graham Kramer (9) of Marblehead netted 11 goals for the St. John Prep’s soccer team to help lead it to the 2022 state championship this past fall. ‘I will always remember this season as my favorite because of the relationships we all formed,’ he says. ‘To top it off with a championship is simply unforgettable.’

“I think the most memorable part of our season, and one that was also key to our success, was our chemistry that we developed throughout the year,” said Kramer, 17. “On the field, it always felt like no one had to do too much, and we were always on the same page. We were able to do this not only through good communication, but also with the camaraderie and brotherhood we formed on and off the field.”

Once again, Crowell gives credit for the soccer acumen where it is due.

“Graham was a vital part of our success and was one of the team’s leading goal scorers,” he said. “He’s a hard worker with a nose for the goal who can finish in multiple ways consistently, and he can do it with either foot or his head.”

Chad Konecky is a communications specialist for St. John’s Prep. 

Chad Konecky
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