The Friday Harbor boys soccer team has struggled since it bumped up to Division 1A competition about a decade ago.
So, with this year’s drop down to the 2B level (due to lower enrollment at the high school) the 2014 team is “chomping at the bit” to unleash its 1A-fortified game, wipe from its slate a decade of frustration and become the catalyst for a new era of success on the field of competition.
It’s not only the divisional drop that suggests that’s precisely what might happen. With experience, size, numbers (30 players turned out for the team) and perhaps the most well-conditioned squad in the league, the stars are aligned for the 2014 Wolverines.
“Suddenly we have the numbers we didn’t have in 1A,” Coach Andy Duke said. “This is the biggest squad Friday Harbor has ever had, both in numbers and in size. We’re huge.”
Nearly a dozen seniors return to the lineup, some of whom, like Sam Stewart, Michael Hoeller, Sam Gabler-Brown and Peter Strasser, stand six-feet tall or better, and are well-versed in throwing their weight around. Friday Harbor also boasts an international-melded lineup, with a player from France, another from Spain, two from China, and three back from a year of foreign exchange.
And, with the switch from spring to the fall season, the Wolverines will start a 16 regular-season game schedule uniquely fine-tuned and with a leg-up on the competition.
They’ll be tested early, pitted against defending Northwest 2B League champion Mount Vernon Christian on the road, Sept. 13, in the second game of the season. La Conner comes next, then Shoreline Christian, Sept. 22, in the team’s home opener.
“These seniors have been waiting for a long time for this year,” Duke said, “since they were freshman.”
For the Wolverines, the wait is over.