ESPN sees Versos' value

GLENDALE — Playing high school soccer together this season for the first and only time is likely an experience brothers Eric and Mark Verso will never forget.

The St. Francis High forwards' exploits on soccer fields around California this year certainly weren't forgotten by ESPN Rise, which included both Eric and Mark in its all-state list for the winter season.

Released on Saturday, the all-state honor roll is based on recommendations from coaches and media members, in addition to observations by ESPN Rise's soccer editorial staff.

"It's definitely an honor and it's pretty awesome to be on the California state team," said Eric Verso, a senior bound for Stanford. "It was a lot of fun to play with my brother and he's making a lot of progress as a player. He's a great player and I'm happy for him."

Eric Verso, the 2008-09 All-Area Player of the Year, returned to high school soccer after a one-year hiatus and scored 11 goals with two assists, despite dealing with a hamstring injury for most of the season.

Mark Verso built on his outstanding freshman year by leading the Golden Knights with 22 goals to go along with six assists as a sophomore.

Together they helped St. Francis go 15-10 on the season and 9-3 to finish second in the competitive Mission League, where Mark Verso was named Offensive Player of the Year. A run to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division I playoffs resulted in All-CIF first team selections, as well as All-Area first-team nods, for both players.

"Just being recognized by ESPN is a great accomplishment," Mark Verso said. "Also, with my brother being on there, it's always very nice to be awarded for what you do.

"I always like sharing my accomplishments with my brother because I feel that he and I have kind of worked together, training-wise, so when we receive an accomplishment together, it's always nice."

Other area athletes included on the all-state list were senior forwards Cameron Meeker and Matt Cannata of La Cañada High, which reached the quarterfinal round of the Division V playoffs.

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