Years of perseverance and hard work yields great achievement for Courbe

Maeve Goldman, Staff Writer

“Leo received the ball from a throw-in outside the box, took a touch, and smashed it into the top corner of the goal,” Owen Stafford (11) said. Whether playing for The Lions or his club team, Leo Courbe (11) has consistently made a huge impact on the soccer field. 

Over the weekend, Courbe competed in the South Bronx United Showcase on Randall’s Island with his club soccer team Asphalt Green Soccer Club, winning one out of their three games, he said. “We played some tough teams but it was a really good experience.” 

The tournament-tested Courbe and his teammates, he said. Although Courbe usually competes in the 05 age bracket, meaning that he plays against players born in 2005, his team was moved up a level, to the 04 bracket instead, he said. 

Courbe has played soccer for as long as he can remember, he said. “I have French roots and came from Lycée which is a French private school on the Upper East Side,” Courbe said. “All my friends played soccer so I played with them,” he said.

Courbe began playing club soccer in the second grade as a member of the South Hampton Soccer Club, he said. Being on club teams has given Courbe the ability to play soccer more frequently and at a higher level – if he played only on the school’s team, he would be limited to playing only during the fall, he said. 

Club soccer has also allowed Courbe to be in an environment of other dedicated players, he said. “I’m really close with everyone on my club team,” he said. “We all motivate each other to be better and play better,” he said. 

For Courbe the most rewarding part of club soccer is persevering against difficult opponents, he said. Last year, Courbe’s team was down 1-0 playing against a top team, but Courbe responded by scoring the two game-winning goals, he said. 

This fall, while club soccer was less intense, Courbe spent his time contributing to the school’s Boys Varsity Soccer Team, he said. “Playing for the Varsity Soccer Team has been a great experience,” he said. “Everyone really wants to win.” 

Courbe stands out on the team as a strong player, Boys Varsity Soccer Coach Gregg Quilty said. “He has explosive speed and really good footwork,” he said. “He’s a very good striker too and can shoot with his right or left foot.” 

Throughout the season Quilty was increasingly impressed with Courbe’s skill, he said. “We weren’t really expecting him to be that much of a goal scorer,” he said. “But he was able to maneuver himself through the defense many times and when we’ve needed him the most he has scored some big goals.” 

While Courbe was always skilled at practice, his aggressiveness and physicality especially stood out when the team began to play games, Quilty said. “He’s not afraid of contact. He’s bumping into people, winning loose balls, and he just keeps going,” he said. “His hustle is what impressed me the most.”

Courbe switched positions during the season from midfield to striker in order to meet the team’s needs, Quilty said. This versatility has made him a vital player on the team, he said. “Whatever the occasion is, he is willing to move and step it up,” Quilty said. “This guy really does it all.” 

Off the field, Courbe has fostered strong bonds with his teammates, Larry Tao (11) said. “He has great energy and is really positive.”

Courbe further showcases the level of knowledge he has gained from playing club soccer during practice, Quilty said. “He works well with his teammates, exhibiting his energy and intensity levels.” The team has thirteen seniors graduating this year, so Quilty is excited for Courbe to take on a leading role on the team, he said.

“Leo is very passionate about the sport and constantly gives his all,” Stafford said. “He’s always at 100% intensity regardless of if we are at practice or the final minutes of a game.” 

During games Courbe uses his experience to uplift teammates, Tao said. “A couple of times during the season, we would be losing games and be down in the dumps.” During halftime, Courbe would raise the team’s spirits through encouragement, helping them rally and eventually win the game, Tao said.

In addition to Courbe’s love of soccer, he also thrives off the energy from spectators, Courbe said. “During our homecoming game against Riverdale we were losing 1-0,” he said. “But we had a great crowd and ended up winning 3-1.” 

Overall Courbe hopes to continue his soccer success into college, he said. “My club competes at various showcase tournaments,” he said. At ID camps, where players are invited by colleges to play, Courbe is exposed to college coaches he hopes will see him as a good fit for their team, he said. “I want to at least play at the club level in college.”