‘Breakaway had a positive impact in my life’

Local soccer players win on and off the pitch.

Juanita’s Breakaway soccer team may have played its last matches, but the memories will surely continue to bounce around in the minds of those who experienced many years of highlights together on and off the field.

The Lake Washington Youth Soccer Association U19 girls squad kicked into action 13 years ago and the team concluded its final season on Dec. 8-9 in the Washington State Recreational Cup semifinals at the Starfire Soccer Complex in Tukwila. They notched an undefeated regular season record of 10-0 against District 2 League teams from Northshore, Mercer Island and other Eastside youth soccer associations.

At the state cup, Breakaway beat Bremerton, 3-0, in the quarterfinals and then lost in the final minutes to Snohomish, 3-2, in the semifinals.

Breakaway — which featured players from Juanita, Lake Washington and Cedar Park Christian high schools — scored big, averaging more than five goals per game and allowing less than one goal per game in regular-season action this year.

“They enjoyed playing with each other as a team,” said coach Warren Ladiges, who has coached soccer for more than 25 years. “They had leadership and camaraderie and they were happy together and stuck together.”

It was an uplifting experience for the coach, who noted that he played the role of mentor, coach, teacher and problem solver. The girls brought tons of enthusiasm to the table, they spoke their minds and never got down on themselves too much during the course of play, the coach said.

Coach Ladiges learned all about patience over the last 13 years, he said with a laugh.

“You don’t jump to conclusions, and that goes for a lot of things in life,” he said. “As a teacher and coach, you get your message across more effectively if you coach in a positive manner.”

Over the last six years, the girls snagged a Washington State Recreational Cup title in 2016, five division and district titles, advanced to the state semifinals five times and played in the finals three times.

The original 6/7-year-old girls were Molly Ladiges, Georgina Enciso, Gilda Enciso, Laura Prows, Heather Gengo, Emma Enstrom and Kirsten Casper. The rest of the team joined up over the years and they all contributed to the success of the squad, according to Warren Ladiges, who was a coach from the start along with Joel Enstrom.

Breakaway didn’t keep track of scoring statistics, but Ladiges led the team in goals and assists this season, followed by multiple goal scorers Enstrom and Jayla Kidd. Tops on defense were goalie Anna Densmore and center backs Gengo and Georgina Enciso, and Sammy Schultz led the way in midfield.

Molly Ladiges’ life has revolved around Breakaway for the last 13 years and she’d like to continue playing soccer in college. She’s enjoyed meeting new girls through soccer and forming a family with the players and coaches.

Life lessons have emerged from the soccer pitch.

“Just work as a team and always try your best,” she said. “You never know the challenges you’re gonna face, so be prepared.”

Molly provided motivation on the field and tried to set the vibe of the game: “They see you working hard and everyone else will give it their all.”

While discussing her years with Breakaway, Georgina Enciso chuckles about how young they were at the start and then fast-forwards to the now: “When I think back about it, it’s so funny to see how much we’ve grown as a team and as players.” And as people in general with school work and jobs on their dockets and college on the horizon.

As a defender, Georgina has learned how to stay resilient against tough teams and keep her squad playing strong.

For Gilda Enciso, she said the girls didn’t always see each other during the day at school, but once they hit the pitch, a connection was made. They were part of a support system that carried them through matches and life in general.

Like Molly, Gilda would like to see soccer stay a part of her life in indoor or outdoor leagues: “Breakaway had a positive impact in my life and I’d like to keep that up.”