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by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
To an outsider, he may have looked like Snoopy when the famous Peanuts character imitated a World War I flying ace.
But there is so much more to the unusual headgear that covered the thick hair of Charlie Sockol on the soccer field.
"Peter Czech, who is a keeper for Chelsea, wears one," the standout Hudson senior goalkeeper said. "I first wore one after I had a really bad concussion. I call it a helmet. It's sewn padding with a strap that goes under the chin. It's sort of a shock absorber."
The senior suffered another concussion last year and missed several games.
But Sockol, a two-year starter, returned for the postseason and guided his team to a 1-0 victory over Walsh Jesuit in a Division I sectional title game. The Explorers lost a 2-1 decision to Aurora in a district semifinal contest to finish 10-5-3.
Fortunately, Sockol is healthy now and will continue to protect the nets.
He signed a national letter of intent Feb. 5 to continue his academic and soccer careers at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
Sockol also considered Capital University in Columbus. He plans to be a pre-veterinary major.
"Duquesne was a better fit," Sockol said. "It's in Pittsburgh, so it's not far away. I love the city. I get to play Division I soccer and the pre-vet program is really good."
The Dukes finished 9-8-1 overall and 4-3-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference last year.
"They beat some good opponents," Sockol said. "They have always had a good program."
Sockol said there are two goalies ahead of him on the depth chart. His goal is to be one of the top two goalies when the season begins next year.
"Only the top two travel with the team," Sockol said.
Sockol suffered his concussion when he was accidentally kicked in the head late in the game during Hudson's 2-1 victory over Twinsburg. As a result of the injury, Sockol missed several games.
"You could tell it was killing him to not be on the field," Explorers head coach Kelsey Resnick said. "He can command a back line and he was definitely a leader for us. He's a very athletic keeper who could make some pretty amazing saves."
Sockol will certainly missing playing at Hudson. He will really miss his classmates.
"The senior class was super, super close," Sockol said. "We would go to dinner or watch [the University of Akron] play at least a couple of times per month.
"After we lost to Aurora, five or six of us stayed in the locker room for more than an hour. We just talked about our favorite moments of the year."
Resnick certainly enjoyed Sockol's talents and passion for the game.
But Resnick also enjoyed spending time with his senior keeper.
"Charlie is a great kid," he said. "He is super outgoing and he wears his heart on his sleeve. It's hard not to like him."
Sockol, a two-year starter at Hudson, hopes to be a starting keeper for the Dukes one day. He also hopes to be in front of the net in some very significant games down the road.
"Being a starting Division I keeper has always been a dream of mine," Sockol said. "I really hope I get that starting spot by the end of my four years.
"It would be amazing if we could win the conference and get that automatic bid to the NCAAs."