Fort Osage soccer coach Andrew Fletcher recalled reading a newspaper article in the summer of 2011 about Richmond Forbis having been adopted by a couple in Buckner, and longtime close friend Clement Van Worth had also come to live with them.
The boys from Ghana, Africa, hoped to play soccer when they enrolled at Fort Osage High School. An accompanying picture showed the boys booting a ball around the yard.
“I tracked him down after that and got him and Clement out here to practice a little, meet everybody (on the team),” Fletcher said. “After that I was pretty sure we had something.”
The something Forbis possessed produced 112 goals in three seasons, a Fort Osage school record. The senior midfielder was named Suburban Middle Seven Player of the Year and Class 3 first-team all-state, the latter honor a first in the boys soccer program's history, and he is The Examiner’s Boys Soccer Player of the Year for a second time.
Forbis joined Fort Osage as a sophomore in 2011 and notched 40 goals and was named Examiner Player of the Year as the Indians went 21-4. He had 36 goals in 2012, and 36 again this season, breaking Wayne Francis’ previous school standard of 95 goals midway through this season. He also recorded 12 assists.
This season Fort Osage finished 15-7, won the Middle Seven title and fell to Liberty in the district finals for a second-straight year.
“Richmond’s first touch is world class,” Fletcher said. “He has the ability to beat people on the dribble – good defenders will end up watching him. The way he moves with the ball is incredible. At the high school level, he’s so fast.
“He got stronger while he was here. He got bigger and got more physical.”
Forbis said the added physique came in handy this season, as much as teams tried to bump him around. Having Pier Cassiraghi return after not being with the team in 2012 also helped on the field.
“Teams were tough this year,” Forbis said. “My best friend Pier, I’m glad he was on the team.
“I’m going to miss spending time with my teammates and coaches. I had a good season with them.”
Fletcher said having talents like Forbis, Cassiraghi, Hayden Baumgartner and C.J. Chavez mesh together allowed Fort Osage’s offense to be free-wheeling. In practices he sometimes would have that quartet go against the whole defense.
“They really figured it out for themselves; they were a mature group,” Fletcher said. “There really was no strategy.”
Besides the obvious talent and offensive production, Fletcher said he’ll miss having Forbis’ smile around.
“He was infectious with everybody else,” the coach said. “Obviously he’s the best player we had, but there was no resentment from the other kids. It wasn’t, ‘Oh, Richmond won another award’ – they were happy for him because they like him.
“We were playing at Raytown South, and he got whacked, and their coach said, ‘Oh my gosh, don’t whack him.’ Other coaches want to see him succeed.”
Forbis plans to attend MCC-Blue River and join Van Worth in playing for the Blazers.
“He got a lot of offers but wanted to play with his brother,” Fletcher said. “It’s hard to turn that down.”
“I haven't thought about that yet,” Forbis said when asked if he will consider soccer beyond Blue River. “(I will) when the time comes, but I like playing with Clement.”
He also appreciates how soccer helped him become acclimated to Fort Osage and America and has helped pave an avenue for his future.
“Back home in Africa, it wasn’t easy to follow your dreams,” he said. “Being able to come here, I have a wonderful family that gives me everything I need. I’m blessed to be here and at this school.”