Roman senior seeks another title

Roman Catholic High School senior Jared Dillon hasn’t earned the championship title since his freshman year. This year, he’s working to change that.

Jared Dillon has scored 58 goals during his career at Roman Catholic, including 15 during PCL play this year. SUPPLIED PHOTO

It didn’t take Jared Dillon very long to realize how great it felt to win a championship.

Dillon is a senior on the Roman Catholic High School soccer and he became a starter up top for the Cahillites shortly after his freshman year started. That season ended in the most perfect way possible for Dillon and his teammates.

Even if he was a little banged up when they eventually got the plaque.

“I got hurt in the last minute of the game, I didn’t come out, it happened with less than a minute left,” Dillon said. “It went to (penalty kicks) and I was still able to run out when it was over. It was honestly the best feeling you could have. Winning the championship was everything people said it was.”

He also found out the hard way that losing is one of the worst feelings you can have. And it’s something he experienced during his sophomore and junior seasons.

In those years, the Cahillites advanced to the Catholic League championships and in both of those games, they were bested by La Salle.

And those losses hurt as much as the win felt great.

“It was hard,” Dillon said. “You go so far and then don’t win. It’s disappointing. You’re losing to a good team, but you put in all the hard work and then, like, it’s hard to say, it just ends. It hurts a lot.”

The goal this year is to make sure the Cahillites get back to the title game and go a bit further. In fact, Dillon wants to go much further.

Roman advanced to the semifinals by defeating Archbishop Ryan 3–0 on Friday night at Lighthouse. Roman will now play St. Joe’s Prep, a 1–0 winner over Father Judge in the quarterfinals, for the right to go to the championship game.

And if they do advance to the PCL championship, the District 12 championship or even the state championship, they’re going to have to rely on their top player to guide them there.

He’s ready for it.

“I really would like to end my career with a championship,” said Dillon, who didn’t play in the state playoffs in 2015 because Roman lost to Northeast in the District 12 championship game. “And I want more. I really would like to go to the state playoffs and see what we can do there. The Catholic League is really tough, but it’s a lot different. It’s different soccer and I want to see how we could do against teams across the state.”

For his career, the four-year starter has notched 58 goals and 37 assists. This year, he’s poured in 15 goals during PCL play, 16 overall. And he’s done it while learning how to play a new position.

“I first moved to midfield last year in the championship game because they wanted to try me there,” Dillon said. “I’m more comfortable at striker, it’s where I’ve played most of my life, but it is good to learn new positions. I think it makes you a better overall player.

“It’s a lot more running when you’re going from (one end of the field to the other) but I’m pretty fit so that wasn’t a problem. You are doing things differently, so you have to do things different, but at the same time it’s still soccer.”

Dillon has gained a lot of recognition this year for his play. In fact, he’s now eyed as one of the top soccer players in the country.

The Bridesburg native was All-Catholic during his sophomore and junior seasons and a two-time team captain, as well as twice being named offensive team MVP. But recently, he was named to the watch list for All-American.

“I really wanted it, it’s a huge honor,” Dillon said. “In the beginning of the year, I wanted to be on it, but for whatever reason, I didn’t make the list. So I would keep checking and it took a long time it felt like, but then they added me to it.

“It’s a huge honor. Just to make the watch list is great, but it would be even better to make it. It would be a huge honor for me, and it would also be an honor for my team because they help me get better.”

Dillon hopes the improvement continues after he graduates and when he’s playing college soccer. Thus far, he has made no decisions on his future, but he thinks he’d like to major in sports management and minor in psychology. St. Joe’s and Temple are among schools that are interested.

“I love sports, I hope to stay involved in that any way I can,” Dillon said. “I think I would like to coach someday, after I’m done playing.”

Wherever he ends up for college, he hopes he goes there with another Catholic League championship under his belt.

“It would be great to win a championship this year and go out with that,” Dillon said. “We finished first during the season, but we played a lot of good teams. We have to play our best if we want to win it.

“I would love to win the championship and make a run at winning a state championship. At least win a few games. That would be the best way to end the season.”