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Soccer star Gilborges helping Franklin Towne in hoops

Josh Gilborges starts at forward for Franklin Towne’s basketball team and also stars at goalie and at pitcher and infield for the Warriors.

Josh Gilborges, who starts at forward for Franklin Towne’s basketball team, also stars at goalie and at pitcher and infield for the Warriors. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Some players look forward to playing high school sports.

Josh Gilborges looked forward to being one of the best.

So when Gilborges found out he was going to Franklin Towne Charter, he did a little research. The lifelong defender found out the team had a standout goalie who would be graduating three months before he arrived, so he went right to work.

“I got a personal trainer and I did drills with him two hours, three days during the week, and then we worked out again on Sunday,” the Bridesburg resident said. “Soccer down here, along the river wards, everyone loves it and plays all the time, but I was more of a player, not a goalie. But when I found out there was an opportunity, I did everything I could to play.”

Gilborges immediately became the starting goalie for the Coyotes, who have since changed their name to the Warriors. But no matter what they call his team, they call him the leader of the team.

“I think making the change was big because it changed the way I see the field, and it changed my perspective of the sport,” Gilborges said. “As a goalie, you see the whole field. I regret not being so, I was pretty shy, so I wasn’t yelling and telling people what to do when I was a freshman, but then the older players told me I was the goalie and I had to take that role.

“It’s changed the way I play and carry myself. I was more confident and more of a leader.”

During the winter, Gilborges is still carrying himself as a leader. He’s the starting center on Franklin Towne’s basketball team, and that job requires a lot of picking up teammates.

Last year, the team finished 11–2, which meant moving up to a tougher division in the Public League. The problem is the team lost a lot of talented players, so this year the competition is tougher while the team has less experience.

So far, the Warriors are 1–6 in Public League play, and there are times the young squad finds itself down.

That’s where Gilborges comes in.

“It’s tough because we have five seniors, but we also have a lot of young guys who are really good, but they wanted to play right away,” Gilborges said. “We told them we went through the same thing in basketball. The more we play together, the better we play, and things are definitely getting better.”

It helps to have a man in the middle who isn’t afraid to take charge. And even if it doesn’t mean more victories, Gilborges is making sure the team stays together.

“My goal at the start of the year was to show everyone that we were going to be good playing in a tougher division,” Gilborges said. “That hasn’t really happened, but it’s not like we’re getting blown out or anything. In two games, we were down double digits at halftime. Other than that, we’ve been in every game, we just lose. I don’t mind that. As long as we’re playing hard.

“The younger guys are doing really well, they’re getting better all the time. At practice, we don’t play young guys against older guys, we all get mixed in because everybody can play. There’s not a first team and a second team, we’re all playing together.”

Gilborges has done his part to help the Warriors on the court, too.

Prior to this year, he played along the perimeter. But because he’s the tallest player on the squad at 6 feet 3, he now finds himself in the paint.

In a perfect world, he would have kept his position, but it’s not about what he wants, it’s about what the team needs.

“I’m loving it because I get to bump and grind with some really good players and it makes me a better player and a better athlete,” Gilborges said. “I’m doing whatever I can to help this team because we might not win a championship, but we can definitely have a good season. And the better we play, the better we’ll be next year. I won’t be here, but these young guys will and they’re getting better.”

When Gilborges’ basketball season is over, he’ll move to the diamond where he plays infield and pitcher.

During his freshman and sophomore campaigns, Gilborges sat the spring season out to focus on his soccer career, but he’s happy he made his return last year.

“That’s my biggest regret because I love sports so much,” Gilborges said. “I get so much out of playing sports, and I think playing more than one sport makes you a better athlete. I love baseball as much as I love basketball, and I’m really happy I’m back playing.”

Gilborges is unsure what’s on deck.

He has talked to some colleges about continuing his career, but he might go a different route.

“If I go to college, I definitely want to play soccer,” Gilborges said. “But I’ve also thought about picking up a trade. I like school, but I also think about going into a trade because I know people who have done that and it’s something I would like. If I do that, I can tell you, 110 percent, I’ll be playing in a men’s league.”

He’ll also stay involved in Franklin Towne’s future.

This year, he mentored sophomore backup John Simpson, and he enjoyed every minute of it. He hopes to stay involved, which is no surprise considering he’s one of the top mentors in the school.

Gilborges is a member of the school’s mentor council, which means he shows younger kids the ropes when they arrive. That’s a job he took very seriously.

“Most of the kids who did it were honor students,” Gilborges said. “I do well, but they didn’t pick me for my grades, they said they picked me because I played sports and was involved in a lot of things. That meant a lot because it shows they know I can do well in school and in sports.” ••

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