BROOMFIELD — You could argue that Tajon Buchanan is one of the greatest exports to come out of Canada in recent years.
Last year he was presented the opportunity to come the United States and further his growth as a soccer player and maybe draw interest from a collegiate program.
He took the opportunity, landed the opportunity at Syracuse next fall and oh yeah, was a huge part in putting the Legacy soccer program back on the map this fall.
"He's the best kid I've coach in 20 years and he might be the best player in the high school game I've seen in 20 years," said Legacy coach Tony Romano of the BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year. "When I look at Tajon and what he does on the ball and off the ball, he is just truly exceptional."
Romano was not shy about his comparisons to some of the all-time greats to come through Colorado, including Northglenn's Tesho Akindele (now playing for FC Dallas) and Fairview's Shane O'Neill, who is currently playing professionally in Cyprus.
Buchanan, who will turn 18 in February, had to bide his time before he could join the developmental academy program next year; so to keep his legs fresh and mind on the game he joined the Legacy program.
Legacy flourished because of it. An already solid program, the Lightning climbed to as high as No. 4 in the Class 5A polls early in October.
"It was a lot of fun, because back in Toronto we don't take high school (soccer) that seriously," Buchanan said. "Coming out here, I learned that a lot more people take it serious and a lot of schools like Broomfield and Boulder have some really good players.
"It was fun to be a part of that and see of something like varsity soccer could be taken so seriously."
It didn't take long for Buchanan to fit right in. In Legacy's first match of the season, he bagged both goals in a 2-0 win over Hinkley. He would go on to score 19 more, including hat tricks against Columbine and Loveland, and would eventually lead Class 5A in scoring with his 21 total goals.
"It should take you no more than literally 90 seconds to figure out that he is a special player," Romano said. "Any person in the stands or any officials that see him for the first time and it's like 'Oh, okay, that kids is something special.'"
And it wasn't just with his soccer skills. Buchanan, who primary purpose in coming to the States was to improve his education, was the ultimate teammate and that was never more evident than in the Lightning's first round playoff win over Arvada West.
Already with two first half goals, Buchanan was taken down in the box and creating a penalty kick. Hat trick, right? No. Instead he picked up the ball and handed it to sophomore Noah Stover.
"That speaks volumes to the type of person he is," Romano said.
Buchanan, who pointed to the 1-1 draw against cross-town rival Broomfield as one of the biggest highlights of the season, is looking forward to heading to Syracuse and making a huge impact with what is already a very good Orange squad.
"I'm looking forward to it, it is just a matter of me being able to adapt to that lifestyle quickly," he said. "A lot of people have told me that is the hardest part, balancing school and soccer, but I am really excited about the opportunity."