“I played against Putnam Science with my club team a long time ago, and still remember being amazed at the strength and skill of their players. They were insane as far as conditioning goes,” said Vlachos, a 6-foot, 175-pounder.
He has been talking to several Division 1 colleges, including University of New Hampshire, UMass Lowell, Vermont, South Carolina and other Division 1 schools. He was listed in New England Soccer Journal recently as one of 20 players to watch.
Now he’s fully healthy and enjoying the high level of competition at Putnam. The Mustangs have an international flavor with players from several countries. Vlachos is one of two Americans on the team — and was the only starter.
It’s a great feeling for Vlachos, after the COVID-19 pandemic and injuries shortened his senior year for the Eagles. A physical player who plays the game aggressively, the quick whistle rule adopted last year for Massachusetts high schools worked against Vlachos’ style of play. To make matters worse, he pulled a hamstring right before the season began and was only able to play in a handful of games.
A senior striker, Vlachos quickly became a valuable contributor and helped his team beat St. Thomas More by scoring two goals in the first half of a shutout win. It’s been a very successful season for the 7-4-2 Mustangs, a year-round program. Having ended their fall season, they’ll start up again after Christmas with winter showcases followed by a spring season. The goal for players to be seen by college scouts.
A member of New England Revolution Academy team as a freshman at St. John’s Prep, Vlachos and was also a player for the New England Football Club the last three years.
“I settled in quickly here,” said Vlachos. “It’s a nice campus and they take soccer very seriously. We’re up at 5:30 a.m. for running a few times a week. Getting used to those was an adjustment at first., but now I actually enjoy them.”
Vlachos, who has played soccer since he was five years old, said he’s battled injury problems since his sophomore year at St. John’s Prep, including a back fracture that wasn’t directly related to soccer but more from overuse. When the pandemic began, he wasn’t able to play in front of college scouts; all contact with schools was through email or film, he said. As a result, he’s flown a bit under the radar.
But his play at Putnam — which played against New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) schools as well as US Youth Soccer Association Development Academy teams — has certainly opened some eyes. “I’ve played every position from goalie to center back, to midfield and then striker in high school,” he said. “My dad (Chris, a standout goalie at Peabody High in the mid-1980s) thought I’d be a goalie like he was, but I love being a forward.
“I’m trying to improve my scoring skills,” he added. “I’ve always been very tenacious and love to put the ball away in the back of the net. I really feel this post-grad year is what I needed to work on my game and get offers.” Contact Jean DePlacido @JeanDePlacidoSN
Contact Jean DePlacido @JeanDePlacidoSN