September 15, 2005

Santa Clara's DeVey Gets Off On Right Foot

Sept. 15, 2005

By Leila Wai
Honolulu Advertiser

Santa Clara forward Keith DeVey can't explain why he has started his junior soccer season with such a strong showing.

"I don't know what the secret is. I wish I did," he said. "A lot of players on the team call me slippery. I just kind of weave around people and get in places that are dangerous and finish my opportunities, I guess."

DeVey is leading the No. 7 Broncos in scoring with four goals in four games, tying for 15th in the nation for goals-per-game average.

DeVey, a 2002 graduate of St. Anthony from Kula, Maui, scored two goals as the Broncos defeated Georgetown, 4-0, Sunday, and was named to the Maryland adidas Classic all-tournament team. He also was named the West Coast Conference Men's Soccer Player of the Week for the second week in a row.

DeVey opened the season by twice scoring the winning goals, including one with less than three minutes left on Sept. 2 to give the Broncos a 3-2 win over UCLA, then ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation.

Two days later he scored with less than five minutes to play in a 1-0 win over Cal State Fullerton.

DeVey was named to the Soccer America Magazine, College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer teams of the week, and earned WCC Player of the Week honors.

"That caught me by total surprise, I just play the games and come home," he said. "I remember after that first weekend, all of my teammates were like, 'You're going to be the national player of the week,' and I was like, 'No, I'm not, are you kidding me?'

"And the next day in the locker room they were like, 'Congratulations.' And I didn't even know what I had won."

He was also tabbed the National Player of the Week by Soccer America.

"It's been a very new experience for me," DeVey said. "It's amazing to look on the Web site and see your name as one of the best players in the nation for that week."

DeVey has not started any of the season's four games, instead usually entering about 20 minutes into the start of the half and playing the remainder of the game.

He said coach Cameron Rast chooses to do that because the first 10 to 15 minutes of a game is "sloppy and physical" and he likes to wait for the game to settle down.

DeVey said the biggest difference for him this season is being an upperclassman and having increased confidence.

One good example of that was his second goal against Georgetown, which came with five seconds remaining in the half.

He was near the sideline, looked up and saw the clock winding down.

"All the players on my team were yelling, 'Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!'" he said, "and I ended up just shooting and scoring from 35 to 40 yards out and the keeper was off his line."

DeVey said that might not have happened if he were a freshman.

"Being a kind of veteran on the team, you want the ball at your feet more, rather than give the ball up to the people above you," he said. "I'm more comfortable on the field, more comfortable with my teammates. Our midfield is one of the best in the nation. It helps to have players who can feed me the ball; they make me look good."

He also has adjusted to a shoot-first mentality necessary for forwards.

"I've always been pass first, and score second, and I'm still kind of feeling the same way," Devey said. "But I'm getting in situations, and I'm not going to shy away from shooting a goal."