The 2016 season was one of the best in the storied history of the Christian Brothers Academy soccer program and that was due, in large part, to a loaded senior class. Although the Colts relied on a balanced, experienced roster to mow down opponent after opponent on the way to winning 24 games and two tournament titles, only one of the 10 senior starters that CBA started was a four-year starter.

Matt Thorsheim not only took on the weight as a rare freshman starter for the Academy, but he did so at a time when the program was at arguably its lowest point ever. The Colts were coming off their only losing season in program history and were just two years removed from a perfect 21-0 season in 2011.

In addition to being the torch-bearer for his class right from the start and leading his group on the climb back to the upper echelon of N.J. high school soccer, Thorsheim also had a family legacy to live up to. His older brother, Chris, was a Shore Conference Player of the Year as a senior for the 2011 team before turning in four standout seasons at Bucknell and set the bar exceedingly high for his younger brother.

CBA senior Matt Thorsheim. (Photo by Larry Murphy)

If the expectations that come with being the younger brother of a state champion at CBA were a cross to bear, Matt Thorsheim never showed it during his four years and on the final day of his high school career, he helped lead CBA back to the top of N.J. His championship-level performance in 2016 earned Thorsheim this year’s Shore Sports Network Player of the Year Award, the second consecutive year the CBA midfielder has earned the honor.

Like his brother in 2011, Thorsheim’s toughest competition for the Player of the Year Award probably came from his own team. Senior forward Patrick Kollman led the team in goals (16), senior midfielder Mattt Mawson led the Colts in postseason goals (6), senior defender Tom Judge scored seven goals and eight assists from the outside back position and senior center back Scott Misson shut down some of the state’s best offensive players over the course of CBA’s postseason run.

Even amid the tough competition from his own teammates, Thorsheim stood out. Playing mostly attacking center midfielder and some forward, Thorsheim was the catalyst for the No. 1 team in the state with his 21 assists – the top mark in the Shore Conference. The 21 assists also matched his output last year, when he set a single-season record forth program. Thorsheim also had a knack for finishing goals, which he did 14 times this season.

Just like he did last year, Thorsheim nailed down the Player of the Year Award with another brilliant postseason performance. He scored a goal to go with four assists during CBA’s run a second straight Shore Conference Tournament title and capped his career with three goals and two assists during the NJSIAA Non-Public A Playoffs.

The last of Thorsheim’s goals was the biggest of his career and one of the biggest goals in Colts history. In the 73rd minute of the Non-Public A final against Seton Hall Prep, Thorsheim collected a pass from Mawson and buried the game-winning goal on a left-footed shot – the lone goal in a 1-0 win over the Pirates.

The postseason performance was in line with the rest of Thorsheim’s career at CBA. As a junior in 2015, Thorsheim six goals and nine assists during the Shore Conference and NJSIAA Tournaments, including a game-winner in the 77th minute of the South Jersey Non-Public A championship against St. Augustine. He also scored a winner in the final 10 minutes against Manalapan in the SCT quarterfinals and had a golden goal as a freshman against Donovan Catholic in the South Jersey Non-Public A quarterfinals.

"That's Matt Thorsheim," first-year CBA head coach Tom Mulligan said after his team beat Seton Hall Prep in the Non-Public A championship. "What a tremendous career. Freshman year, sophomore year, junior year, senior year. To cap it off with a state final goal, you can't say enough about Matt Thorsheim. He's a special player and a special kid and he'll go down in CBA soccer history as one of the all-time special players, without a doubt."

Thorsheim will again follow in the footsteps of his older brother when he suits up for Bucknell next season. He departs CBA with 39 career goals and 58 assists, according to Shore Sports Network records.