Lasell's First All American
Mike Skelton '13
He is bigger, stronger and faster than he was when he was terrorizing opposing hockey players on the New Hampshire high school circuit. But he left his skates behind for soccer cleats when he enrolled at Lasell in 2009. In the history of the College's Men's Soccer program, there's been no one better at putting the ball in the net; the fact that he is remembered on campus more as an exemplary student-athlete than merely a champion finisher proves how special Mike Skelton ‘13 is.
On a Sunday last November, with the flick of his head, Skelton accomplished something never before done in the history of Lasell Men's Soccer: He scored his 50th career goal, a header in the team's Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) quarterfinal match against Rivier University, sending him to the top of the Lasers' career scoring list, surpassing Zach Gagne '08 and his 49 career goals.
During the 2013 season, the Men's Soccer program finished with a record 17 wins and appearances in both the GNAC championship and ECAC New England Championship games and claimed its second straight GNAC regular season title. Skelton broke his own single-season scoring record, was named GNAC Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight year and set new single-season records for goals with 22 and points with 49.
As if that were not enough, Skelton was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American Third Team for his play during the 2013 season, an honor Men's Soccer Coach Giovanni Pacini calls, "a great way for Mike to cap off his stellar career and another feather in our program's cap to have an elite Lasell player recognized by coaches around the country."
The honor was a milestone on a journey that began at Kennet High in Conway, NH, where Skelton split his time between the ice and the pitch, compiling a prolific hockey career that equaled his exploits in soccer. It was during a post-graduate year at Hebron Academy in 2008 that Skelton became acquainted with Lasell.
"A few of my high school friends were at Lasell and encouraged me to take a look," he says.
Skelton contacted Pacini, and the Lasers' coach traveled to Maine to check out the young man's moves. "There was little doubt in my mind that Mike could impact our program," Pacinini tells Leaves. Once Skelton decided to focus solely on soccer at the college level, he opted to stay close to his New England roots and chose Lasell.
Throughout his undergraduate experience (which included time spent off the field recovering from a fractured back), Skelton racked up points and honors, maintaining a 3.0 GPA in the Honors Communication program, interning in the Lasell College Sports Information office and writing for The 1851 Chronicle student newspaper.
"Lasell has shaped me in a variety of ways," Skelton tells Leaves. "To quote Tennyson, ‘I am a part of all that I have met.' My teammates, friends, teachers and coaches all have prepared me for the next phase of my life, and I am thankful to everyone."
With the College now in his rear-view, Skelton currently is a web developer for the Carroll County, NH YMCA, hoping to land a spot with a Premiere Development League (PDL) team to extend his soccer career and "get a shot at playing at the next level."
And Coach Pacini has every confidence. "Mike's ability to read the game contributes to his ability to play the ball; he sees things that most others don't," he says. "We'll miss the goals, but we'll miss the young man more."