Keeping possession while displaying patience, simplicity and smarts. That’s what Lake Washington coach Rod Smith is encouraging his Kang boys soccer players to zone in on when the ball is kicked into play.
Early in the season, they’ve been cracking the back of the net as well, with eight different players notching goals in the Kangs’ 3-1-0 overall start. At press time, LW and Redmond were at the top of the 3A KingCo table with 2-1-0 marks.
“Keys to success will be continuing to play both ends of the field as a unit. Disciplined team defense paired with attacking from team build up should help us find success,” Smith said.
Top returners are senior tri-captains Casey Brine (defender), Shoma Okita (midfielder) and Conor Knox (midfielder), junior Jackson Fox (defender) and sophomore Matteo Debuire (defender). Solid newcomers are sophomores Kevin Lomeli-Gil (midfielder), Jason Pham (forward) and Dominic Koester (forward).
Defensive anchor Brine earned first-team all-league honors last year and has committed to play NCAA Division I ball at Bryant University in the fall.
Knox, an all-KingCo second-teamer last year, will solidify the midfield crew with his composure, toughness and stellar soccer knowledge.
Okita, who was also an all-league second-team selection last year, is a crafty midfielder with a tireless work ethic.
The Kangs are effective both on and off the field, Smith said.
“I’m fortunate to have a great group of guys,” Smith said. “The quality of character in this group makes it easy, with plenty of leadership, discipline and commitment throughout.”
A total team effort is what Juanita boys soccer is striving to kick onto the field each time out.
The Rebels — 2-1-2 overall and 1-0-2 in league at press time — have a bevy of top returning players and exciting newcomers in the lineup this season, according to coach Matt Brown, who chose not to list names because he aims to bring equality to the squad.
Juanita, which was 1-0 overall at press time, has been making progress early in the season and is responding well to Brown’s coaching philosophy, which he said is a “combination of Rinus Michels’ theory of Total Football and John Cartwright’s concept that football is merely a set of individuals combining when necessary.”
It’s a multi-faceted approach to controlling and dictating the game. By sticking to that plan, Juanita will reap success, Brown said.
“I’ve been quite pleased and even surprised by the number of players proving themselves to be key to our efforts,” Brown said. “The most exciting part of my team is that they enjoy the game and have fun with in what we are attempting to achieve.”