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The Central Regional boys soccer team had its first winning season in six years in 2022 and David Kroon had to watch a vast majority of it from the sidelines. Kroon's junior season ended in his team's third game, when he suffered a season-ending leg injury in a 3-2 loss to Toms River North -- a game in which Kroon scored both of the Golden Eagles' goals before sustaining the injury.

One year later, Kroon is back, he is again scoring goals and Central is thinking much bigger than just a winning record.

With Kroon and several other 2022 starters back in the fold this fall, Central is off to its best start in over 15 years and now, the Golden Eagles are the first Surf Taco Boys Soccer Team of the Week in 2023 and received a $250 Gift Card from Surf Taco.

Photo: Steve Meyer
Photo: Steve Meyer

Central has won each of its first four games this season, with its most recent win a 2-1, overtime thriller over Toms River East on Wednesday night. Kroon starred in the victory, scoring the equalizer just before halftime and finishing the game with a golden goal that extended the Golden Eagles' perfect start to 2023.

The two-goal game was the first for Kroon since his performance vs. Toms River North last season, giving Kroon two-goal performances against both of the 2022 Shore Conference Class A South division co-champions. His two goals vs. Toms River East came nearly one year to the day after his injury vs. Toms River North, which he suffered on Sept. 14 of last season.

Central's four wins to open 2023 are against four noteworthy sides from Ocean County. The Golden Eagles opened their season with a 2-1 win over perennial Class A South contender Jackson Memorial, followed by a 2-1 win over rival Lacey -- a program two years removed from winning the Shore Conference Class B South championship. Senior Keith Swistock and junior Jordan Benzon each scored goals off assists by Kroon in the win over Jackson Memorial and Swistock scored both goals in the win over Lacey.

Central than secured a 4-3 victory over Manchester in the first game of the Shore Conference Tournament group stage. The Hawks boast one of Ocean County's top players in Joey Kurak, who gave the Golden Eagles all they could handle by scoring two goals and dishing out an assist.

Kroon led the way for Central with a goal and an assist, while Swistock, Benzon and senior Matt Golizio each added a goal in the high-scoring win.

Swistock is a returning All-Ocean-County player and currently leads the team with four goals, while Kroon has accumulated three goals and three assists to open his season.

Central is in the midst of a five-day break from game action and will return to action Tuesday, when they travel to Toms River South for another Class A South showdown. The Golden Eagles will go outside of Ocean County for the first time on Sept. 23, when they head to Howell -- the No. 5 team in the Shore Sports Network Shore 16 -- for their second SCT group-play game.


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