Parkway Central goalie, team look for another great season
By: Warren Mayes
The buck has to stop somewhere and for the Parkway Central boys soccer team, it’s senior Andrew Chekadanov.
The 6-foot, 170-pound Chekadanov is picking up where he left off last year for the Colts, who finished 20-4-1. Chekadanov was in goal for all the games and he finished with a 0.57 goals against average. He recorded 127 saves and posted 15 shutouts.
“He’s a tremendous athlete,” Parkway Central coach John Theobald said. “He’s very agile and a key contributor on the varsity basketball team. He was the Suburban South Player of the Year last year and very deserving.”
Chekadanov credited his teammates with his success last season.
“I definitely think that last year was a breakout year not only for myself but for our team as a whole,” Chekadanov said. “Having 15 shutouts is not done by myself. Much of that credit goes to the solid defense that I had in front of me last year.”
He’s picked right up this season.
“This season, I think I have matured as a leader as well as a player,” Chekadanov said. “I think my play has been solid but definitely not perfect. There is still a lot of room for improvement and I plan to work hard to improve as the season goes on.”
There have been some big highlights this season. Parkway Central defeated conference rivals Webster and Kirkwood in penalty kicks on back-to-back nights. Chekadanov played a big role in those 1-0 wins.
“Biggest highlight so far has been watching him stop five consecutive PKs between (those) two games,” Theobald said. “One of those came with 30 seconds left in regulation against Kirkwood to get us into overtime and giving us a chance to win in PKs.”
Other highlights this season include winning the Parkway Tournament for the second straight year and the recognition that the Colts are getting from the St. Louis soccer community.
Chekadanov put in his time to prepare for the season. He wanted to leave nothing to chance for his senior campaign.
“Throughout the spring and summer, I worked hard to improve as a player and also to get stronger in the weight room,” Chekadanov said. “I played with my club team Doran Fitness throughout that time and those guys on the team made me an even better player on the field.”
He thoroughly enjoys being the Colts’ keeper.
“As a goalkeeper, my overall athleticism is a strength,” Chekadanov said. “Knowing the game is a big part of goalkeeping as well. According to our assistant coach Brian Adam, I am always in the correct position and always take good angles to make a save. I would say decision-making is a big strength and knowing the game as a whole.”
“Andrew is very quick and has great leaping ability,” Theobald said. “I think what makes him good is his ability to come off his line and take balls out of the air. By doing so, he eliminates a lot of scoring opportunities before they have the chance to become dangerous. Also, his hands are extremely good and he gives up very few rebounds. Typically, you won’t get more than one opportunity at him.”
While a lot of the credit goes his way, Chekadanov makes sure to let everyone know he does not do it by himself.
“My defense deserves most of the credit for the success that I may have,” Chekadanov said. “Nick Helmbacher, Justin Bradshaw, Alex Mischel and Ryan Leven are players with lots of varsity experience. They make it easy on me as they keep everything in front of them and make sure no balls get through our back line. Without their experience our team would not be where we are today.”