Boys Soccer – A turning of the tides

By Kathryn Wheeler, Journal contributor.

Boys varsity soccer has a reputation for success. Having made it to the final four of the state tournament for the past two years, and winning the tournament last year, playing for the winningest team in all of Friday Harbor High School sports carries high expectations. Coach Brett Paul believes these expectations allow for greatness. His dedicated players have been practicing year-round in preparation for the season’s start on September 1st against South Whidbey High School. “They’ve been working really hard together throughout the summer playing in the Island rec soccer league and competing together with FHFC in the Rush Cup tournament in Skagit Valley,” Paul wrote in an email to The Journal. “They are pretty eager to get competing too against our league opponents,” many of whom now fear the team with perhaps the most intimidating reputation. Paul’s coaching approach centers around a cohesive team, “with an emphasis on high-level fitness, good passing, and solid team defense.” He expects his players to put in many miles before the season starts, and to come in strong, injury-free, and ready to work. This year marks a turning of the tides. Not only will the program continue to build its JV team, new as of last season, but it’ll see a very different-looking varsity squad. The team graduated 12 seniors in 2022, five of them captains, and has a “strong incoming 9th-grade class who are all eager about soccer,” Paul wrote. Paul expressed excitement about the new leadership roles his upperclassmen will assume, as well as his new captains, “who will get to take the reigns and pursue their own vision for this team and the season ahead.” While a new team dynamic may take time to figure out, the “incredible potential for growth,” according to Paul, is deeply exciting. “It’ll take a balance of confidence, humility and hard work to find ourselves in the final four again this season and this group is certainly capable and up to the task.”