Lion on the Attack
CHELMSFORD -- Josh Ofosu is a marked man on soccer fields throughout the Merrimack Valley Conference. Chelmsford High’s multi-talented senior striker attracts a crowd of defenders.
But Ofosu’s uncanny ability to get lost in space enables him to control the flow of play, despite drawing constant double teams.
Ofosu possesses the speed and athleticism needed to initiate the Lions’ attack, and the shooting prowess to conclude it. He scored 17 goals and added eight assists while helping Chelmsford post a 12-6-1 record last fall.
The Lions began practicing for the upcoming season Thursday and Ofosu is determined to build on last year’s success.
“Everything I’ve been able to accomplish is the result of hard work,” said Ofosu. “Day-in and day-out at the field, many times by myself, practicing. Working on finishing.”
Ofosu is the master of improvisation when it comes to escaping defensive pressure. A sprinter on the indoor track team with a personal best time of 6.97 seconds in the 55-meter dash, Ofosu relies on his speed to generate scoring opportunities. Once Ofosu gets within launching range, he lands shots on net with surgical precision with either foot.
“To be honest, I just let it fly,” said Ofosu. “If I look at the goalie and he’s kind of cheating to one side, I’ll shoot to the other side. I’m a natural righty, but I love shooting with my left foot. Most defenders try to switch me off to my left foot because they think that’s my weakest foot. But I have a strong left foot.”
Ofosu got his varsity career off on the right foot by finishing his freshman season with two goals and 10 assists. He then scored 13 goals and notched six assists as a sophomore. After finishing with 25 points as a junior, Ofosu was an MVC all-conference selection and an Eastern Massachusetts all-star.
“No matter how many players mark him, he does a great job exploiting space,” said Chelmsford coach Chris Martinez. “He has a lot of speed. He goes where they aren’t, and finds a way to score. His speed helps our attack tremendously. But when it comes to actually finishing, he has a great shot.
“A lot of his goals come off only one or two touches. It’s not dribble, dribble, dribble. It’s getting the ball in space and taking a shot or a header. His shots are accurate. That’s the key. It doesn’t have to be real hard. It has to be on goal. He does a good job hitting his spots.”
Ofosu comes from a soccer family. His older brothers, Martin, Joe and Max, are former standout players at Chelmsford. Ofosu’s parents, George and Francisca, have played important roles in his development as a student-athlete.
“I was the typical little brother,” said Ofosu, a Lion co-captain this fall with Evan Wang and Jake Hartshorn. “I was definitely trying to be like them and play at their level. It was good to push myself against them. Playing with and against them helped me a lot. Playing against older and bigger guys helped give me a physical presence.”
Ofosu is 6-feet tall and weighs 145 pounds. When he can’t run past traffic, he is willing to fight his way through it. On occasion, Ofosu may drop back into the midfield, which gives him more room to operate.
“He puts tremendous pressure on the defense,” said Martinez. “First off, you have to defend his speed. You have to give him more space. But then he has the skills to play in front of you. Either he’s getting by the defender or he’ll make plays in front of the defense. It’s fantastic for us.”
Ofosu has caught the attention of a number of college soccer programs, including UMass Lowell and UMass Amherst.
For all his talent, Ofosu is a team-first playe who is quick to point out the roles his teammates have played in his success.
“He’s very team-oriented,” said Martinez. “Sometimes you can get a player of his caliber and he’s selfish. And he’s not. It makes a huge difference for our team. He’s such a team player and great leader.”
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