By ED GOTWALS
Maybe it's something in the genes.
Everybody who plays soccer wants to be the big-time goal scorer, but only a select few have all the attributes and mental capacity to handle that most daunting of positions.
Robert Furfaro was definitely a goal scorer for the Chambersburg Trojans this fall. The Public Opinion Player of the Year hit the back of the net 23 times to set a single-season school record, and his career total of 42 also set a school record.
It's not surprising, then, that his father, Guy, the Trojans' JV boys and varsity girls coach and a former coach at Shippensburg University, spent his soccer career as a successful goal scorer.
"I've always gotten a lot of help from my dad," Robert said. "Even before I could walk he'd throw me a ball so I could head it. He taught me a lot of things that kids who don't have coaches for dads never had a chance to learn."
Those private lessons took hold, and his younger brother Marc seems to have gained some of that knowledge, too.
The career goal-scoring mark of 34 was set 26 years ago by Chad Divens and the single-season record of 22 had been held for 13 years by Nathan Richards.
Furfaro said, "My dad and I figured out last year how many goals I'd need, and it was always in the back of my head. I went into the Greenwood game knowing where I stood and it was a great feeling and a big honor to break that (career) record."
"He's just a classic finisher," Chambersburg coach Mike Dent said.
"Plus, he has that nose for the goal that can't be taught."
For a big chunk of the season, Furfaro was the only player scoring consistently for Chambersburg. But when Dent moved Greg Figueroa from midfield to the front to join Furfaro and Colten Arnold, it worked.
"We struggled connecting in the beginning," Furfaro said. "But toward the end we really started clicking and made some good things happen."
The culmination of that good work came in the Trojans' first-round District 3 Class AAA playoff game at Warwick, the Lancaster-Lebanon champion that is annually a big player in districts.
But that night, it was all Chambersburg. Just four minutes into the game, the Trojans led 3-0 and ended up with a very surprising 7-2 victory. Furfaro had three goals and three assists in the rout.
"That was the highlight of the year ... that game was just awesome," Furfaro said. "We had so much fun that night, and it was because I think everybody played their best game of the year."
The Trojans then lost in the quarterfinals to rival Cumberland Valley 2-1 in a well-fought battle and ended up 13-5.
Furfaro said, "We were confident we could beat CV, but they just got the better of us. Our goal was to make states, but we can't complain about the way we went out because we were playing well. It was still a successful season."
Now it's on to college, and the choices appear to be narrowed down to Lebanon Valley College and Eastern University, both Division III schools.
"I'll have to get stronger and play quicker, because the defenders in college are bigger and stronger," Furfaro said. "It'll be tougher trying to hold the ball."
But he seems to have enough useful traits that will serve him well at the next level.
Dent said, "Some kids are afraid to take certain chances, but not Robert. He has no fear. He won't pass up a chance to score by just passing the ball away.
"Plus, he's not like his dad in some ways, because Guy would wait to have the ball delivered to him. Robert will go get the ball and he does a lot of good work off the ball. It's always nice to have a goal scorer on your team."
As some lucky college team will find out next year.
Ed Gotwals can be reached at 262-4755 and email@example.com. Player of the Year
Name: Robert Furfaro
Parents: Guy and Kathy Furfaro
Weight: 170 pounds
Statistics: Furfaro scored 23 goals this year to set a single-season school record ... His 42 career goals is also a school record ... He had 9 assists this year and 14 for his career.
Honors: Mid Penn Commonwealth Division first team; P.O. second team in 2010.
Club team: HMMS FC Eagles
Favorite team: Barcelona
Favorite player: Lionel Messi
College: He's looking at Lebanon Valley and Eastern.