GROTON — At about 1 p.m. Central time in Rockford, Illinois, on July 2nd, the culmination of 16 years of youth soccer for Groton native Walker Davey concluded with a National Championship in the US Soccer U19 Elite National Premier League Finals.
Davey was a member of the New England Football Club (NEFC) U19 Elite NPL soccer team which defeated the Concorde Fire, a U19 Elite team from Atlanta, 2-0, with Walker scoring the game-winning goal at the 61:52 mark of the match.
For Davey, this was a fitting end to what has been a storybook career that began in 2003 when he played on his first “Kids Kick” team in Groton. Over the next 16 years, he helped to lead teams from the Groton-Dunstable Youth Soccer Club, the Boston Bolts, the Groton School and the New England Football Club to successful campaigns in the Nashoba Valley Youth Soccer League, the National Academy Program, the Independent School League and the National Premier League, respectively.
Next he will be taking his talents to Boston College.
Early on in Walker’s soccer career, his father Chris, a long-time coach and president of the Groton-Dunstable Youth Soccer Club, realized his son had the ability and desire to play at a higher level than the Groton-Dunstable town soccer program could offer, so he encouraged Walker to try out for the Boston Bolts, an elite soccer club based out of Newton.
In 2009, Davey started playing for the Bolts on their U9 team. His coach that first season was Bob Thompson, the current first assistant of the men’s soccer team at Boston College and a former all-American midfielder at BC and professional player with the New England Revolution.
Davey played for Thompson on the U9, U10, U11 and U12 teams and then played for Chris Payne, the current head coach at Assumption College, on the Bolts’ Pre-Academy team at U13 and U14.
In 2015, Davey was asked to play for the Bolts U15 Academy team but, having been accepted to the Groton School, he decided that he wanted to play for the Zebras in the fall during his high school years and then play club soccer in the spring. Thompson had begun coaching for the NEFC and he recruited Walker to play for him starting in the spring of 2016.
While Walker’s first year at NEFC as a U15 was a rebuilding year, his team starting at U16 began to have remarkable success at the local, regional and national level in the National Premier League. In 2016, the team won the regional NPL championship and made it to the national semifinals in Aurora, Col., where they lost to the eventual champs, Manhattan Villa FC, in overtime.
In 2017, Davey’s U17 NEFC elite team won the regional NPL title and the Massachusetts State Cup and qualified for both the U17 NPL National Championships and the US National Cup Championships in Indiana. After losing 1-0 to Manhattan Villa in the NPL final, the team came back a week later and won the National Cup, beating TSF Academy from New Jersey 2-1 in the national final.
In 2018, Walker’s U19 NEFC Elite team again won the regional NPL Championship as well as the Massachusetts State Cup Championship and qualified for the first ENPL National Championship in Lancaster, which combined the best teams in the country from the National Premier League and the newly established Elite Club National League. They made it to the final before bowing out.
Determined to finish his club soccer career on a high note, Davey’s U19 NEFC Elite team this spring went undefeated in regional play and won the regional championship, qualifying for the ENPL National Championships in Illinois. There, the team won its three pool-play games, 2-0, 4-0 and 3-1. They then won a semifinal game 3-0 against the Rockford Raptors FC. In the final, they faced off against the Concorde Fire from Atlanta, the third-ranked team in the country.
After a scoreless first half, NEFC broke the deadlock on a goal by Davey at the 61:52 mark of the match. NEFC would go on to score one more to put the game out of reach at 2-0 and claim the hardware as the U19 Elite National Premier League National Champions.
At the Groton School, Davey started every game over four years, winning the Coaches Award in 2015-16 and the team MVP in 2017-18.
He was first team ISL his junior and senior years and was a two-time NESPSAC All-Star.
Walker also captained the Groton School varsity squash team this winter and was a member of the Groton School varsity baseball team this spring.
Said his Boston Bolts and soon-to-be BC coach Bob Thompson: “I’ve been a soccer coach for 15 years now and when I think back on the thousands of players I have worked with, Walker stands out definitively. He is that rare athlete who is extremely talented, but who always puts others first. His unselfish personality and incredible work ethic make him the perfect team player. He is a terrific young man and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to coach him.”