Anabtawi the All-American

By Natalie A. Trout
Director of Marketing & Communications

“I’ve always loved Canterbury. I’ve lived in Fort Wayne my whole life. I love Fort Wayne.”

Saed Anabtawi ’23 would be happy to stay in Fort Wayne forever. It’s unlikely, however, that the talented goalkeeper will stay put in the Summit City, considering he was named a United Soccer Coaches All-American as a junior.

“It’s an unbelievable honor,” Anabtawi says. “I’ve been looking up to great players in Canterbury history who have received that honor, and I’m one of those guys now. I’m really grateful for my coaches and my teammates, and everybody at Canterbury supporting me, because I wouldn’t have made All-American without them.”

As a sophomore, Anabtawi made All-State, but felt that he was capable of more. He put in the work, and it was worth it. He joins eight other Cavaliers who have received the honor of being an All-American, and if he does it again next year, he’ll be only the second Canterbury player to make the list twice. Current assistant soccer coach Blake Sharpe ‘03 is the only other Canterbury player to do so back in 2002 and 2003.

Coach Greg Mauch says Anabtawi has definitely put in the work to improve and reach All-American status.

“He’s made great strides every year as a goalkeeper,” Mauch says. “Saed’s got God-given talents, and he’s making the most of them.”

Anabtawi credits much of his success to Mauch and the other Canterbury coaches. After his Grade 8 season, Mauch sat him down and said, “You could really be good at this if you keep at it.” And so he did, putting in extra work in the offseason.

Coach Sharpe has an impact on Anabtawi’s role as a leader on the team, and new goalie coach Charles Wharton and Anabtawi have really clicked both on the field and in the classroom.

“(Wharton) stepped into that role and played a huge part in my All-American season,” Anabtawi says. “He’s definitely the teacher who has been holding me up this year.”

Soccer has been a part of Anabtawi’s life for as long as he can remember. His father played soccer, and so did his older brother Tawfiq who also played soccer for Canterbury and graduated in 2015. While Anabtawi started playing soccer in the field at around 10 years old, he eventually switched to playing goalie. He loved it so much that he felt at home playing the goalkeeper position. It was where he belonged.

For Anabtawi, soccer is life. He wakes up in the morning with soccer on his mind. He is a fierce competitor who loves to win, so this year’s loss in the regional finals was especially tough.

“That’s not a good way to go out,” Anabtawi says of Canterbury’s 2-1 loss to Bishop Dwenger. “It hurts. It really hurts as a competitive player, but one thing you have to do as a leader on the team is support the younger guys. Lead by example. It was a tough loss, but you have to bounce back.”

With his senior year on the horizon, Anabtawi has a lot to consider. He wants to play at the next level, and he is grateful that Canterbury has prepared him for college, both academically and athletically.

But there’s something he wants to accomplish before he leaves.

“I want a state title,” he says. “That’s the ultimate goal.”

Aside from outstanding coaches and an incredible work ethic, Anabtawi has the one other thing that he’s grateful for at Canterbury School: the community. It’s what he believes will help elevate him, and the team, in next year’s soccer season.

“If you look at any other school, there’s no community like ours,” Anabtawi says. “You go to any game, listen to the chants, the parents being supportive no matter what, they’re always there. I’m really grateful for the Canterbury community. Everybody wants what’s best for you. That’s the kind of people you want around you, people who lift you up.”