BY DAN STICKRADT
WEB AND CONTENT EDITOR
NOVI, Mich. — All along Kyle Pierson had a plan.
The talented student and soccer standout was going to play at least one season of high school soccer. The current Novi Detroit Catholic Central senior decided to join his friends and classmates this year and what a ride it has been so far in 2022.
“I was always going to try to play high school as a senior,” noted Pierson late in the 2022 high school regular season. “It is something that I really wanted to do and it’s been a great experience.”
Pierson’s older brother, Ryan Pierson, finished as an All-State Dream Team player back in 2017 when Catholic Central captured its first Division 1 state title. His twin, Drew Pierson, is a fourth-year varsity veteran and was a member of the Shamrocks’ second Division 1 state championship team in 2020.
Kyle Pierson wasn’t injured the last three years. He opted to play for the Michigan Wolves MLS Next Academy (formerly the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy), which is essentially a 10-month commitment, and one cannot play high school soccer simultaneously while on an Academy roster. Still, Pierson has been around Catholic Central’s program ever since he was in middle school and often was in the stands cheering on his siblings and friends the last few years.
“I saw my older brother Ryan win a state championship and I’ve heard some of his stories,” said Kyle Pierson. “And my brother Drew has played high school and loved it. I really wanted to do it this year.”
The 2022 season has saw Kyle Pierson being voted as one of the team captains by his peers even though he has not been on the varsity roster the last three years.
“He’s an amazing player and a great leader,” said veteran Catholic Central coach Gene Pulice, who has coached several highly-skilled players at CC or in club soccer dating back to the 1980s. “Even though he didn’t play for us in the past, his peers still chose him to be a captain and that says a lot about the type of person he is.
“Kyle is a great player and we’re happy to have him,” added Pulice.
Pierson has led the Shamrocks to an incredible season thus far, which included a 16-1-3 regular season record. Catholic Central, which has 19 seniors on its roster including the Pierson brothers and a host of college prospects, captured the Balconi Invitational tournament title back in August and followed that up with a 5-0-1 record in the CHSL Central Division and a divisional title. The Shamrocks also won the CHSL Bishop Tournament title with a 3-2 overtime win over Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook, the No. 1 team in Division 2.
Pierson and Co. have also been ranked either first or second in the MHSSCA Division 1 top-15 rankings all season and entered state tournament play ranked second -- and on a roll. The Shamrocks have outscored the opposition 65-10 in the regular season with 10 shutouts and Pierson has scored in bunches against almost everybody. He has scored around 35 goals and recorded around 25 assists entering the state tournament and should add to those gaudy numbers if the Shamrocks make an expected deep tournament run.
Pierson, who committed to the University of Michigan last winter, has achieved multiple individual goals and aided some lofty team accomplishments this season. Al which has landed him on a short list for All-State Dream Team consideration and for the 2022 Mr. Soccer award, given annually by the Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association to the state’s top player. He has been in the conversation along with Clarkston’s Richie Ludwig, a Michigan State commit and US Soccer U-18 National Championships Golden Boot honoree, St. Joseph’s Christian Shannon, Saline’s Christian Rossi and a few other future Division I standouts.
The coaches association will announce its postseason lists, Mr. Soccer winner and Dream Team on Nov. 8.
“I think he is Mr. Soccer, and a very worthy candidate,” said Pulice. “How many other players out there have put up the numbers this year like Kyle and who has played the type of schedule we have played? Every team we have played has tried to (mark him) and they have not been able to slow him down. Every coach we have played against has commented on him. I think he should win it and I think we’ll have several players make All-State.”
All of the team an individual success came from a tough decision not to play Academy soccer this fall. Pierson’s return to the Michigan Wolves is currently in limbo.
“I talked to the coaches and got a release,” offered Pierson. “I have not been talking to those coaches during the high school season. I’m not sure how it will work out after the season. I’ll worry about that later.”
With expectations in the clouds and multiple championships already in the bag, Kyle Pierson and the Shamrocks have much larger goals in mind. They want to win district and regional titles, play in the Final Four and eventually win the Division 1 state championship this year.
Previously, Catholic Central has won district titles in five of the previous seven years and is heavily favored to win its sixth district in eight seasons this year. The Shamrocks have also won three regional titles and competed in the Final Four three times in the past decade, winning state crowns in 2017 and 2020 and reaching the state semifinals in 2015.
But Kyle Pierson was on the sidelines in those glorious runs and now he is a standout senior in senior-laden starting lineup that features a bevy of talent.
“I really enjoy playing with my friends and having a chance to play for Catholic Central. There is a lot of history here,” smiled Kyle Pierson when talking about the Shamrocks’ exceptional history in athletics. “I’m happy with my decision and I want to help my team win a state title.”