KENNEBUNK — The Journal Tribune Boys Soccer Player of the Year for 2012 is a familiar face. After a standout junior season earned him the award last year, Kennebunk goalie John Burns one-upped himself to garner the award a second time.

The Rams were a top contender in the SMAA this season, and Burns’ performance in net was a big reason why.

Burns helped lead the Rams to a 9-2-3 record and the No. 4 seed in the Western Class A playoffs. Burns did his part in net, recording five shutouts and allowing more than one goal just twice. Kennebunk coach Nathan Bean called that stat “pretty outstanding.”

Bean said Burns has been reliable for two years now, and it’s something he tries not to take for granted.

“He’s been the backstop for two really, really, solid teams and we’ve kind of gotten used to him making the big save at the moment that we need a big save,” said Bean. “He’s certainly a kid we’re going to miss next year.”

Burns shined brightest in the Rams’ quarterfinal victory over Deering. After giving up a late goal, Burns told his team flat-out that they weren’t going to lose the game. Burns then made good on that promise when the game went to penalty kicks and he stopped Deering’s first two attempts.

“For him to come up big in those moments was huge,” said Bean.

It was moments like the end of the regulation against Deering that Burns showed the kind of leader he had become. He was a calming figure on a team that played with high emotions every game, and Bean said he really upped his leadership role this year.

“He’s one of the kids we gave a captain’s arm band to this year, and he really took that “C” seriously, and provided us with real steadiness and great leadership on and off the field,” said Bean. “If all the kids I got to coach were of the caliber of character and had the work ethic that John has, my job would be really easy.”

— Contact Wil Kramlich at 282-1535, Ext. 323 or follow him on Twitter @WilTalkSports.

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