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Abington’s Touey eyes final finish

Abington's Sean Touey (22) keeps the ball away from Emmaus defenders during their PIAA-4A first round game Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (James Beaver/For Digital First Media)
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When he isn’t playing soccer, Sean Touey likes to write and direct short films.

The script he’s authored for himself on the pitch this fall, the one he’s starring in as well as directing, has been nothing short of tremendous. A senior forward for the Abington boys soccer team, Touey finds himself of the cusp of a 30-goal season as he and his teammates prepare for Saturday’s PIAA 4A quarterfinal against Seneca Valley.

Very few people have slowed Touey down this season, mainly because he refuses to let them too.

“Sean’s capable of scoring goals, I’ve said it so many times in interviews that if Sean misses, he’ll just put himself in position to shoot again until he puts a ball in the back of the net,” Abington coach Randy Garber said after Touey bagged two goals in the Ghosts’ 4-0 first round win over Emmaus. “He’s very determined, he doesn’t care if he misses, he’ll just get another chance.”

Touey isn’t the flashiest player, although his first goal against Emmaus would argue otherwise, but he’s just effective. After playing spot time as a freshman, he stepped into a roster with just one returning started as a sophomore.

He finished that season with 25 goals, the next with 26 and sits at 29 going into Saturday. Touey says it’s his role on the team to score goals, and it’s a job he takes very seriously. Teammates like Nevin Baer and Liam Friel may be more eye-catching on the field with their technical skill or precise services, but Touey’s skillset is perfect for his job.

“Sometimes you don’t see what he actually does,” Garber said earlier in the season. “He plays with his back to the goal and through high school, you don’t often find that guy who will play with his back to the goal, be content doing it and know how to do it.”

When Abington sends a ball Touey’s way, it’s usually one meant for him to run down. Instead, when the ball gets near him, someone usually yells “hold it for us,” and the senior will do his best to shield any defenders behind his back as he either settles or lays off the ball.

Off the field, his interests and group of friends are wide-ranging and diverse, but on the pitch, Touey considers it his job to be the team’s finisher and he‘ll fight through double teams and defenders shoving him all game because he wants to come through for his teammates. Growing up, Touey started playing at Fox Chase, then moved up to Future Player Academy, where he shared a roster with most of his current Abington teammates.

“We didn’t want to go out early,” Touey said after the Emmaus game. “We knew in the Downingtown East game (in the District 1 second round), if we lost that game then we were done and we wanted to show everybody else and ourselves we could make it as far as we’ve wanted. Now that we’re on that trail, it’s whether we show up game in and game out in these state playoffs. I think if our team shows up, we’re a really hard team to beat.”

The senior has scored in every manner possible this season, from direct free kicks, to his one-time left-footed volley off Friel’s cross against Emmaus, headers, tap-ins and just putting his body in harm’s way like he did in the District I title game. It’s a testament to his work rate in the box, always trying to get to any ball he thinks can be turned into a shot.

A great forward isn’t separated by the quality of their finishes, but by their willingness to take the 10th shot after the first nine didn’t go in. Garber thinks that’s Touey’s best quality, that he continues to shoot the ball even if he’s been frustrated the entire match.

“I’m not going to beat eight guys off the dribble, but I am going to always be working,” Touey said after a match earlier this season. “There’s always going to be a ball to be won in the box, a 50/50 or header that doesn’t come down to who can beat 100 guys on a field but who works harder.”

One of three siblings, Touey has enjoyed watching the success his younger sister Casey, a sophomore on the Abington girls soccer team, had this season. Casey nearly notched 20 goals herself and although they couldn’t be more different in terms of stature or playing style, they take a lot of inspiration from each other.

Sean, who like his sister wears the No. 22, will quickly say any success his sister has is all due to the work she’s put in, but Casey has plenty of respect for her brother’s accomplishments.

“He’s the person I looked up to most when it came to playing soccer,” Casey Touey said one of her multi-goal games this season. “Any time he scored, I was happy for him but I also started thinking ‘I want to be like him.’ He inspires me to go out and be the best player I can be.”

Touey and his teammates will take on Seneca Valley on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Chambersburg. Getting to the state tournament was a major goal for this group, which had been bounced early in districts the last two years and has 13 total seniors on the roster.

Late in the game Tuesday, an Emmaus player about to sub in asked an Abington player next to him where Touey is playing next year. The Ghosts player answered Touey hasn’t committed yet, bringing up a half-disbelieving response from the Emmaus player.

The senior forward hopes to play in college, and he’s gotten a handful of offers from local Division I and II schools. Garber was also adamant that Touey is a next-level type of talent and that once he gets to college, he’ll only become stronger and more effective.

For now though, Touey is just interested in earning his team a few more days of travel, training and playing together.

“There’s a joy we have every time we go out there, I’ve never been a part of a tighter group,” Touey said on Tuesday. “Coming together and pulling off a big win like this was amazing and moving forward, it will do wonders for our confidence and only made us tighter as a group.”

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