NORMAN — Some athletes insist they don't read their press clippings.
But after Norman North won the Class 6A soccer state championship, senior Brandon Little Axe fully admits indulging himself in the media coverage.
“I reread the articles several times,” he said with a laugh.
Little Axe scored both of Norman North's goals in a 2-1, overtime win over Tulsa Union in the title game and is The Oklahoman's All-City Boys Soccer Player of the Year.
Norman North finished the season ranked No. 1 by ESPN in its 2012 Powerade Fab 50 Boys' Soccer Spring Rankings, and Little Axe's performance this season was a huge part of the school's climb up the list.
Little Axe scored 22 goals this year for the unbeaten Timberwolves.
“He has a work rate that is second to none,” said Norman North coach Geo Claros. “That should never take away from how talented he is, but one thing I tell every kid I coach is that it's not hard to find a talented player.
“But you're nothing if you can't bring the work rate to put yourself in good spots, read the game and be willing to get into battles with other players. And those are all things he's willing to do and enjoys.”
Little Axe started playing soccer in a recreational league in elementary school and said he would always score four or five goals a game.
“My mom would say all the parents were talking about how good I was, but I didn't really think I was that good,” he said. “I just played my best and everything worked out.”
Now, Little Axe will continue his soccer career at Oklahoma Christian University. He signed there last month.
“There was just something about it,” he said. “It felt cozy, homey and welcome.”
Claros said his program will miss Little Axe, who he calls not only one of the best players he's ever coached, but also one of the most pleasant.
“On and off the field, I can't say enough about the type of kid he is,” Claros said. “He's going to be missed, and hopefully we get more and more types of kids who are like him. If we do, we'll continue to be extremely successful.”