The irony now is that RUGBYMag’s Boys U19/HS Player of the Year is spending the next two years in a rabid rugby country, and won’t be able to play.
“I would love to be able to get on the field while I’m in Uruguay,” said this year’s recipient earlier in 2013 when discussing his Mormon mission. “But I don’t think I will be able to. I do know rugby will be a big part of my life after that.”
So while Zach Webber is off on a mission as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS, or Mormon), we can recognize that he was a huge part of the High School All Americans tour of South America, and before then he led United to a somewhat unexpected National Invitational championship.
A year before, Webber had sat down with RUGBYMag’s own Alex Goff after his team was dismantled by Cathedral in the national HS Club final. He showed true maturity then, putting aside his obvious distress at a drubbing to answer questions. That maturity showed in 2013, when United put aside some early losses to win the HS Club NIT.
"Zach Webber epitomizes the kind of player every coach, and teammate would want,” said United Head Coach Colin Puriri. “Zach's nickname this past season was 'Captain America.' As our Team Captain he led from the front and he would do anything needed, from the simplest of tasks to the most difficult, without question or hesitation. Zach played every minute like there was no tomorrow, and had the ability to raise the level of play from his teammates. He was a coach's dream, had the brains and rugby smarts to lead and coach on the field, and worked harder than anyone else at practice."
That is why United won, and why Salty Thompson picked the fullback/center for the High School All Americans, and why he made him captain when Calvin Whiting (another excellent United player) went down injured.
"Zach exemplifies the best of players United have tried to produce since our beginnings,” said Puriri. “He follows in the footsteps of others who have achieved great rugby accomplishments, and one day will play at that next level. Along with his rugby accomplishments and skills, Zach has an equal if not greater level of character and morals. Zach will be successful not only in rugby, but any other endeavor he pursues."
That’s good enough for us. Zach Webber is RUGBYMag.com’s Boys High School Player of the Year.