Local Sports, Sports

Point Pleasant’s Joey Pinkerton selected as WVSWA boys soccer player of the year

POINT PLEASANT — A win 1,106 days in the making just got a little bit sweeter.

After helping the Point Pleasant boys soccer team capture its first state championship in program history, sophomore Joey Pinkerton has earned the West Virginia Sports Writers Association’s Boys Player of the Year Award.

When told he had gotten the award, Pinkerton said he was blown away to receive such an honor.

“There’s no better feeling than this,” he said. “I wasn’t really expecting this, I just thought I had a good season.”

Pinkerton put up a total of 18 goals, three of which came in the state tournament, along with 13 assists.

He also put in the winning penalty shot in the finals.

Point Pleasant head coach Chip Wood said Pinkerton is the kind of player you can’t just find anywhere.

“He is the kind of player that wants to be outstanding and wants to play at the next level,” he said. “He’s very motivated to be coached and he’s not afraid of taking big moments head-on.”

After a long regular season, Point Pleasant won its fourth-consecutive Region IV title to once again qualify for the state tournament.

For its first game of the 2023 tourney, the Black Knights had to contend with the Wheeling Central Maroon Knights.

The Black and Red won the semifinal matchup by a score of 4-0, their best result in their streak of playing in the tournament.

Pinkerton, who scored two of those four goals, said winning the match by such a wide margin helped build him and his team’s confidence going into the finals.

“It made such a huge difference for us,” he said. “It really helped our confidence going into the championship round.”

However, the Black Knights faced one big thing standing in between them and a state title: the Charleston Catholic Irish.

The Irish had been a thorn in the side of the Black and Red for the last three seasons, beating them in the 2020 semifinals and the finals in 2021 and 2022.

“I’ve never wanted to beat a team so bad,” Pinkerton said. “In fact, I was hoping that Catholic would beat Lewis County in the semis so we could have a chance at them. You couldn’t script it better than this.”

The Irish did indeed best the Minutemen to set the stage for Point vs. Catholic: Round Three.

In the match, the Irish were able to score the first goal to take an early lead.

“That first goal they scored was so heartbreaking,” Pinkerton said. “It was so disappointing watching a silly goal like that go in during a state final.”

However, Pinkerton said he and his team didn’t let themselves get discouraged, and the sophomore eventually scored the equalizer with seven minutes to go in the first half.

“Our level of intensity didn’t drop at all and we knew it was only a matter of time before we got that tying goal,” he said.

After the second half and overtime went scoreless, the Class A/AA championship game went to penalties.

With an opportunity to get the win, Pinkerton at first couldn’t believe his shot made it into the net.

“My first thoughts were of how it actually happened. It really went in,” he said. “Instantly my mind went to all of my teammates, especially all of the friends I made last year who weren’t there anymore. I wanted to make this for them too.”

After winning, Pinkerton said several of his old teammates reached out to him.

“Everyone has been so supportive,” he said. “I love all of my teammates, past and present, and to hear the ones that have graduated say they’re so proud of me means the world.”

Even though he still has a couple of years of high school left, Pinkerton said he has a school he’d love to play for at the next level.

“Marshall,” he said. “Both of my parents went there and I’d love to get the chance to play for the Herd.”

Other finalists for the POTY award were: Michael Luechauer (George Washington), Tanner Griffith (Lewis County), Tresz McLeod (Wheeling Park) and Gio Cinco (Charleston Catholic)

Pinkerton will be recognized at the 77th annual Victory Awards Dinner on May 5, 2024 at River City in Wheeling.