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It was Danny Bedoya in a nutshell.
Despite a remarkable career at Francis Lewis, landing a scholarship to St. John’s University, basically embodying everything the PSAL Wingate Award stands for, the Francis Lewis star expected it to go to someone else.
“I thought it would be Ibrahim [Diaby] of MLK,” he said, referring to the Martin Luther King Jr. star who vanquished the Patriots in the PSAL Class A finals with a late goal. “I didn’t even expect it.”
It was typical Bedoya — humble, unselfish and ready to cede the spotlight to others — only the PSAL powers-that-be felt differently. They chose the central midfielder, known for his deft touch, on-ball skills and brilliant accuracy on set pieces.
“It feels really good winning it, it’s a big award for the PSAL,” said Bedoya, The New York Post’s All-Queens boys’ soccer Player of the Year and an All-City first team selection, of accepting the award June 11 at the Brooklyn Marriott. “I felt honored being around all of [the winners]. It was a great experience.”
An East Elmhurst native, Bedoya fell short of leading Lewis to an elusive city title, guiding the Patriots to back-to-back finals berths, but he did everything else. He waited his turn and took advantage of his opportunities, emerging as one of the top talents in the city last fall. His senior year Bedoya scored 16 goals and added 14 assists, helping to extend the Patriots’ unbeaten streak in Queens to a hard-to-fathom 57 matches (50-0-7).
“He knows what to do with the ball, even before he gets the ball,” teammate Daniel Castro said previously. “Your job is just to finish the play.”
St. John’s took notice and made him the first high Division I player in Coach Roger Sarmuksnis’ hugely successful tenure. The Colombian-born Bedoya heard from Clemson, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Bucknell, but he wanted to stay local, to be near his brother Santiago, who plays for Queens College, and parents Olga and Freddie. St. John’s, Iona and Adelphi were the options.
“It couldn’t happen to a better kid,” Sarmuksnis said. “He really earned it. He practiced hard, did well with his grades. I was happier for him than I think any other player to come out of Francis Lewis.”
He capped off his high school career in style, by winning the award given to the top senior in each sport.
“It’s a good way to go out,” he said. “I feel like I was able to represent the school well by winning this award. Anybody could’ve won it, I guess I was able to show myself more on the field.”
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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