Brett Richardson was a major reason the Alvirne High boys soccer team played for a state title last fall. Richardson, who scored 19 goals as a junior, is
Brett Richardson was a major reason the Alvirne High boys soccer team played for a state title last fall. Richardson, who scored 19 goals as a junior, is looking to put together a strong senior season. He's shown practicing Tuesday. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

HUDSON, N.H. -- There are times when Brett Richardson is maneuvering past defenders that you'd swear the soccer ball is attached to his cleats by a string.

Alvirne High's multi-talented senior striker seemingly commands the ball with the dexterity of a puppeteer, manipulating the action on the field in a tantalizing game of keep-away while creating scoring chances.

Despite being consistently marked by one or more players last fall, Richardson managed to stay one step ahead of everyone pursing him. Richardson scored 19 goals and had 14 assists for 33 points as the Broncos posted a 17-3 record and advanced to the New Hampshire Division 1 state final.

Alvirne High School soccer star Brett Richardson at practice Tuesday.	SUN/JULIA MALAKIESun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
Alvirne High School soccer star Brett Richardson at practice Tuesday. SUN/JULIA MALAKIE

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Richardson, a New Hampshire Division 1 All-State selection in 2013, has worked harder than ever in the off-season in the hope that Alvirne will build on its success.

"We definitely have a tough act to follow," said Richardson. "We were .500 my sophomore year. Last year we had a real strong senior class and we went on a crazy win streak.

"It was an amazing season. Before the year started no one was talking about Alvirne being really good. To come together as a team and play as well as we did felt great. We are looking to keep it going this year. We only have two returning starters, but we have a lot of talent. We have the potential to pick up where we left off.


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Certainly, Richardson possesses the necessary skills to resume his assault on opposing goalkeepers. Richardson has an accurate shot and is a creative playmaker.

Richardson didn't play striker at the varsity level until last fall. He was a fixture in the Broncos' lineup at center midfielder his freshman and sophomore campaigns.

It didn't take him long to make an impact on the forward line. Richardson, who entered last year with seven career varsity goals, tallied a hat trick in the first half of Alvirne's season-opening game.

Brett RichardsonSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
Brett Richardson

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

"I was skeptical about moving to striker at first," said Richardson, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 170 pounds. "Then I scored three goals in the first half of the first game. I just took off from there.

"I surprised myself by how well I played. The last time I played striker was probably in U-10. The more I scored, the more my confidence grew. My shots were just going in for me. I had a great midfield behind me, feeding me balls. They gave me some great passes and I was able to finish."

Alvirne struggled to a losing record Richardson's freshman season. Since then Richardson has lifted his level of play, and carried the fortunes of the program up with him. One of the top returning players in New Hampshire, Richardson will get the full attention of every club on the Broncos' schedule.

"He hasn't been able to sneak up on anybody really since his freshman year," said Alvirne head coach Jeff Blackwell. "Teams always make sure to find where he is on the field.

"He's the complete package as a player. He makes our team better. He's been a big part of our success. We brought him up freshman year three or four games into the season and it instantly changed how we were playing. From that point everyone started to believe."

Richardson is very much a team-first player. With Richardson, Raul Stedile and Matt Lubinski leading the way on offense, the Broncos should score plenty of goals.

"He's very unselfish," said Alvirne assistant Ryan Hanlon. "That's one of his best qualities. He's not looking to be that main goalscorer, he's looking to do what he can to help the team win. He'll pass up a shot if one of our other guys has a better scoring opportunity. He gives the ball up. He has that team attitude about him."

Alvirne lost to Hanover, 2-0, in the state title game last fall. Although the final chapter of the Broncos' storybook season didn't provide a happy ending, it didn't diminish what was an incredibly rewarding season.

"We may have lost (in the state final), but it was still an unreal experience," said Richardson. "Our whole community was there supporting us. The entire school was at the game. It was cool to see everyone come out. It was fun. It's something I'll always remember."

Richardson is an athlete for all seasons at Alvirne. He plays basketball in the winter and tennis in the spring. He plans on continuing his soccer career in college.

"He's always had that top level technical ability," said Blackwell. "He's a naturally gifted athlete. He can play anywhere. I think he can fit in with a Division 1 college team.

"He's very competitive. He's not a screamer, all he wants to be is the best."

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