August 18, 2012
By Charles Cuttone
FC Sonic Lehigh Valley’s Charlie Sales may have been named the National Premier Soccer League’s Goalkeeper of the Year, but as far as the 26-year-old is concerned, that trophy, along with the NPSL Championship hardware the team recently won in San Diego belongs to the entire team.
"I don’t really look at a shutout as a personal stat, or an individual stat, to me it’s a team statistic," said Sales. "As a goalkeeper there is not really a whole lot you can do to influence the game other than what you defensively. Without the players in front of me, without the defenders and the rest of the team in front of me, I’m not going to be able to get those shutouts."
Sales and the stringent defense in front of him led Sonic to the NPSL championship posting 12 shutouts in 16 games, and only allowing four goals all season, just one from the run of play.
“You can’t say enough about our defense,” said Sonic FC Coach Dave “Weitie” Weitzman. “Out of 16 games, posting 12 shutouts, that’s remarkable.”
Sales gives full credit to the players in front of him for that kind of performance, despite having several games where he was called upon to make big saves.
"I am a smaller piece of the machine that consists of the whole team. Without those other parts, I am nothing. Obviously 12 shutouts is great to have. It speaks volumes of the talent we have in the squad."
Sales and Sonic capped off the season with a 1-0 win over Chattanooga FC to capture the NPSL title at the final four weekend in San Diego.
"It was a great feeling. We went in at the beginning of the season with one goal in mind, to win the title. It’s a great feeling--can’t really describe it."
While in college, sales played for both the Reading Rage and St. Louis Lions in the PDL. He says while the level of play in that league was better then than in the NPSL, the two leagues are now comparable.
"I think now in terms of quality, they are pretty much level," he said "The majority of our team is made up of division one players, which is what you are going to get with an PDL team, so the quality is there."
Born in Pennsylvania, Sales and his family moved to Illinois while he was in high school. In three seasons at Sacred Heart, he posted 62 shutouts and helped the team win the state title in 2003. He was selected as an NSCAA All-American and also was named the Illinois High School Soccer Player of the Year.
Sales was recruited by Lehigh University and played two seasons there, before moving back to Illinois to finish his college career at Western Illinois.
But the Keystone State came calling again, and Sales and his family found themselves back in Pennsylvania, giving his parents a chance to see him and his younger brother Joe perform for Sonic, while he also attends SIU-Edwardsville.
"I love playing with my brother. I know my parents love it as well," he said. "To have my younger brother playing on the same team is great for them."
Sales comes from an athletic family. His older brother played college hockey, soccer and lacrosse, and his father played tennis and basketball.
In addition to playing for FC Sonic, Sales also is working as a coach at YSC and with the Union Juniors program, positions he’s held for the last two and a half years. He works as a staff goalkeeper coach working with kids form U-18 up to U-19. He also works as goalkeeper coach for Rosemont College.
Sales just finished up his third season with Sonic FC, having joined the club in 2010. This season was by far his best with the team, something which has him perhaps thinking of moving to another level.
"I obviously want to continue at the highest level I can," he said. "I think I can go on and play beyond NPSL, but if it doesn’t work out, then I’m happy to continue and play for Sonic again next year. If given the opportunity, I’d love to prove I can play at a higher level."