Diman’s Mya Parker: At home anywhere on the soccer pitch
By Greg Sullivan
Herald News Staff Reporter
FALL RIVER — During a recent conversation with Diman Regional girls’ soccer coach Flo Lima, a reporter reminded Lima of something he had previously said about senior Mya Parker.
A team captain, Diman Regional girls’ soccer senior Mya Parker helps lead the pack in a jog around the field. [Herald News photo | Jack Foley]
Senior Mya parker keeps the ball aloft during a Diman Regional girls’ soccer practice [Herald News Photo | Jack Foley]
Senior Mya Parker. [Herald News Photo | Jack Foley]
Senior Mya Parker is no juggler, but gives it a try when asked during a Diman girls’ soccer practice. She does manage to very effectively juggle playing three different positions during a game. [Herald News photo | Jack Foley]
Senior Mya Parker, seen during a Diman girls soccer practice. [Herald News Photo | Jack Foley]
That she is Diman’s best forward.
That she is Diman’s best midfielder.
That she is Diman’s best defender.
“And,” Lima added in all seriousness, “she’s our best goalkeeper.”
Yes, the four-year starter made her high school goalkeeper debut this season, a relief appearance in a game against Bristol-Plymouth.
In a perfect soccer world, Lima said, Parker could focus all her energy on playing midfield, more specifically outside halfback where her speed would be used for both offensive and defensive purposes.
But Diman’s needs this season have not permitted the 5-foot-3 Parker and Lima that luxury. After a 1-4 start, Lima decided Parker’s talent and skill were most needed on defense. Since then, Lima has started her at center defense and then, if the game situation dictates, has moved her to midfield and/or forward.
“The move was his idea,” said Parker, who in her career has 87 goals and 48 assists. “And I thought it was a great idea.”
The facts agree. The Bengals are 7-0-2 since the move.
Playing defense has likely cut back on Parker’s scoring and, perhaps, a chance to reach 100 career goals. Except to the discerning soccer eye, defenders often don’t get much attention, unless they make a mistake. A three-sport (soccer, basketball, softball) Herald News all scholastic, Parker, a team captain, says she’s fine operating out of the spotlight, because team comes first.
Mya Parker by the numbers
- Years starting for Diman: 4
- Positions played this year: 4 (forward, midfield, defense, goalkeeper).
- Goals this season: 20
- Goals for her career: 87
- Assists for career: 48
- Sports played at Diman: 3 (soccer, basketball, softball)
“She wants to win and knows the team needs her to play different positions to be successful,” Lima said. “I’ve had several conversations with her about what we need to do and she agrees. Scoring is not her first priority. A team win is more important to her.”
Lima hesitates not at all when asked what makes Parker a special player.
“Her speed, soccer skill set, soccer IQ, and her ability to elevate her teammates to perform better,” he said. “She always led by example, but this season she is more vocal on the field. She gives 100 percent all the time.”
A great example of her impact as a defender was obvious in Diman’s home game against Mayflower Athletic Conference Large Vocational co-champion Tri-County. When the teams had met for the first time, early this season in Franklin, the host Panthers had struck early and cruised 6-1.
In the rematch at Diman, the Bengals won 1-0 in gaining a share of the MAC Large Vocational title. Parker was a rock on defense and her teammates showed how far they have progressed since the first Tri-County game.
Joining teammate Erica Cook at central defense provides Parker with challenges she embraces. “Not letting the ball through,” the electronics shop honors student said. “Having the defensive line all on the same page.”
“It settles the team down and they play with confidence,” Lima said. “As a central defender she distributes the ball well and she is able to attack when she sees her opening and she is able to still score.”
The playoff-bound Bengals (8-4-2) won their regular-season finale 1-0 on Tuesday at Fairhaven. Parker scored her 20th goal of the season. She has nine assists. And thsoe point totals tell only a small part of Parker’s 2018 Diman soccer story.
“She practices the way she plays and that speaks volumes to her teammates,” Lima said. “Her passion, desire and doing anything to win makes her special.”