Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
Sajji Singh’s sore left ankle was taped up heading into the team’s rivalry game against Broomfield back in the second week of October. Banged up, the field general and tempo-setter for Fairview agreed to dial his aggressiveness back a pinch.
Singh said he remembers his coach telling him to go 85 or 90 percent.
And whether it was a cautious approach or a pointed approach directed by Fairview coach Jeff Frykholm, it unfolded into a winning one.
No part of his game was forced on that night as the flow of the match seamlessly went through him and on to his teammates in a 2-0 win. It was another step forward in the maturation of a player who was planted into arguably the most crucial role on a possession-oriented team for the past two years.
“It helped me change my play style a bit and become more impactful,” Singh said.
To make it even better, that same night he scored one of the flashiest goals of his career — a 30-yard chance that expertly speared the top corner of the net.
“When I have one of my best games of the season and our team has one of its best games of the season,” Singh said, “I like the sound of that.”
In hindsight, Singh’s role on Fairview could be labeled a number of things. Volume scorer — eh, probably not one of them.
Although responsible for a few of Fairview’s most crucial goals this season, including the game-winner in the final minute of the team’s second-round win over Rock Canyon, the senior finished with a modest six goals and 12 in two years as a starter for the Knights.
Asked if he ever feels overlooked because of his lack of flashy statistics, he said it does not bother him.
“I’ve always known my worth,” Singh said. “Throughout my club career I played with Omar Castruita, last year’s BoCoPreps.com player of the year, and Omar is going to score all the goals.
“Playing with him it’s always kind of like you’re not going to get the recognition because he’s scoring like 25 goals a season, which is crazy. I kind of knew my place, my role and my value to the team. And that’s kind of kept me going.”
That role? The heartbeat, the playmaker, the general — Fairview players and coaches struggled to pinpoint just one. And after leading his team to 17 straight wins and the program’s fifth consecutive trip to the state quarterfinals this fall, here’s another: The 2018 BoCoPreps.com soccer player of the year.
“He is the governor,” Frykholm said. “He controls the tempo, and if we need to put gas in the engine to go he’s the one that does that. If we need pump the brakes and slow down, he’s the one that does that.”
Frykholm was one of several coaches around the area who marveled about the senior midfielder’s ability in response to a survey sent out for all-region team nominations. Fairview’s coach said it’s the midfielder’s intelligence that sets him apart.
“He’s got a huge soccer IQ,” Frykholm said. “He watches the game all the time and studies the game. And not every player has it, he has this special understanding and intuition and feel for what the game needs.
“The top players have a feel, have a sense, have an intuition in that critical moment. And Sajji has that.”
Singh was named as a player of the year in the state’s arguably best league, the Front Range League, and in 5A by the Colorado High School Soccer Coaches Association.
Brent W. New: firstname.lastname@example.org and @brentwnew