Getting his kicks: Ripley High School senior Kessell enjoys soccer season on the pitch

Mark Martin
Special to Jackson Newspapers
Noah Kessell (7) is playing out his final season as a Ripley Viking soccer standout. Kessell has been used this season as a midfielder and forward for head coach Victor Boyce's Vikings.

In his final season as a high school soccer player, Ripley’s Noah Kessell is giving it his best shot for Victor Boyce’s Vikings.

Literally.

“I’m shooting a lot more this year,” said Kessell, one of the leaders of the 2021 squad.

He’s not only firing more shots at the goal this season but also enjoying life on the pitch in a much better light than a year ago.

It was tough for any athlete navigating through COVID-19.

While there have been a few delays this season, it pales in comparison to last year.

“It’s going pretty good,” said Kessell.

Shooting more is something Kessell discussed with Boyce at the end of last season.

From that very moment Kessell, who also competes in track and field for Ripley High, went to work.

“He is a great team leader and the heart and soul of the team,” said Boyce. “He’s determined and has that no-quit mentality.

“He plays hurt and does whatever is needed.”

Kessell has manned the midfielder and forward positions this season for the Vikings.

He started playing soccer 14 years ago.

Kessell followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Trevor, who just wrapped up a college career at West Liberty State University.

“He’s helped me a lot through the years. I watched him be successful and it made me want to do the same,” said the Viking senior.

Trevor Kessel was a 2016 Class AAA Second Team All-Stater for Ripley.

While midfielder and forward have been his main slots this season, Kessell is an all-around player according to Boyce, now in his second season at the helm of Ripley Viking boys soccer.

“He can play every position and would if you asked him,” said Boyce.

“He is definitely one of the guys I will miss the most. If something would come up in a game, I just send Noah to play in that spot.

“He’s not a natural striker and finisher, but this season I had to put him in that role.”

Kessell praises Boyce for his development this season.

“He’s helped me so much. At the end of last year he gave me advice of how to improve. I worked on those things,” Kessell said.

In track and field, Kessell competed in the Class AAA portion of the West Virginia State Track and Field Meet by running a leg on both the 4x8 and 4x4 meter relay teams.

Being involved in track kept him in tip-top shape for the rigors of the constant running soccer demands.

Boyce believes Kessell, like his brother, has the potential to play beyond his Viking days.

“I can see Noah playing at the next level if he wants to go that route,” said Boyce.

Kessell plans on attending college for sure, but hasn’t decided quite yet on where and if soccer will be in his plans.

No matter what Noah Kessell decides, one can bet he will be giving it his best shot.