2023 All-County Soccer: Ndiaye did it all for Warren Central

Published 4:05 am Sunday, March 19, 2023

The movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once” recently won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

It’s also a pretty good description of Warren Central soccer player Birame Ndiaye.

When the Vikings needed a goal scorer, he pumped them into the net. When they needed to shore up the defense, he happily dropped back. And when they suddenly needed some leadership, the senior stepped up.

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“He puts the team first. He’s played so many positions for us.,” Warren Central coach Greg Head said. “He started at left outside mid, and we needed a defensive player his junior year. I asked him to move back and he didn’t hesitate. He was one of the best defenders we had. He even won a trophy for most versatile player because he could play multiple positions.”

Ndiaye’s versatility helped Warren Central remain competitive during a difficult season, and also netted him the 2023 Vicksburg Post boys soccer Player of the Year award as the top player in Warren County.

“It made me feel proud, because I’ve been working hard,” Ndiaye said of winning the award. “I’ve loved soccer ever since I was 7 and I started playing. I wished to become a pro player, but my mom didn’t want me to focus on soccer. She wanted me to do something else. It still didn’t stop me. I worked as hard as I can.”

Warren Central needed Ndiaye to be as many places on the field as he could, because they had holes to fill almost everywhere. Seven seniors graduated from last year’s roster, and three returning players — all of whom were among the team’s best offensive threats — did not play because of injury or various other reasons.

Ndiaye stepped into that void and had 10 goals and three assists. Most of those came early in the season, though. In January, after a couple of blowout losses in which the offense struggled, Head made the decision to focus on defense. His best player led the way, without complaint.

“I liked playing defense a lot. When Coach put me back there I wasn’t complaining because I wanted to play back there,” said Ndiaye, who was selected to play in the Central Mississippi Soccer All-Star Game. “When we started losing bad, since we can’t score I might as well go back to defense and we can try to keep the score down.”

Harder than switching positions, Ndiaye said, was stepping into a leadership role. He said it doesn’t come natural for him, but with only five seniors on the roster and given his status as one of the team’s better players and a captain, it was something he reluctantly took on.

“Being a leader wasn’t my thing. I get embarrassed a lot. It was something that I had to put aside and know what I have to do,” he said. “I’m the captain. If my teammates do something wrong I have to tell them what to do. I put my shyness aside and did my job to help my team win.”

Unfortunately, the Vikings did not win a lot this season. They finished with a 2-12 record, although the switch to a defensive approach helped keep them in the hunt for the playoffs until the final week of the season. During a five-game stretch, they only allowed seven goals.

The season also had a rough ending for Ndiaye. He tore his right ACL in the season finale against Northwest Rankin. The injury cost him a chance to play college soccer, for now at least, while he recovers and rehabs.

“I was hoping to play college soccer. I’m not going to stop playing soccer. But for this year I’m just going to sit down. My second year I’m going to try my best to get on the team,” Ndiaye said.

When he does get back on the field, whether it’s for a junior college team, intramurals, or just a pick-up game with friends, there’s little doubt that Ndiaye will play wherever he’s needed — no matter where it is.

“He’s just a good all-around athlete. He can play any position,” Head said. “You tell him what to do and he does it. And he’s good at all of them. He could have played goal keeper.”

Girls’ All-County Team
Boys’ All-County team
Vicksburg’s Johnson wins girls’ Player of the Year award
Vicksburg’s Bailey wins Coach of the Year award

Vicksburg Post Boys Soccer Players of the Year
2023 – Birame Ndiaye, Warren Central
2022 – Cooper Madison, St. Aloysius
2021 – Tony King, Warren Central
2020 – Kieran Theriot, St. Aloysius
2019 – Ryan Theriot, St. Aloysius
2018 – Braylen Greer, Warren Central
2017 – Braylen Greer, Warren Central
2016 – John Austin Burris, Warren Central
2015 – Nick Wright, Warren Central
2014 – Chris Kurtz, Warren Central
2013 – Garrett Watson, Vicksburg
2012 – Chandler Bounds, Warren Central
2011 – Erik Chappell, Warren Central
2010 – Tim Hoeptner, Warren Central
2009 – Erik Chappell, Warren Central
2008 – Bowen Woodson, Vicksburg
2007 – Cameron Curtis, Vicksburg
2006 – Michael Cooper, Vicksburg
2005 – Michael Cooper, Vicksburg
2004 – Luke Sellers, Warren Central
2003 – Michael Head, St. Aloysius
2002 – Michael Head, St. Aloysius
2001 – Andy Gough, St. Aloysius
2000 – Chad Henley, Warren Central
1999 – Mark Titre, Vicksburg

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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