The Friday Harbor boys soccer team is overflowing with 32 players this year, giving head coach Brett Paul a chance to build up a Junior Varsity team, one of the first times in the history of Wolverine boys soccer, that Paul is aware of.
“We grew a lot this year. We only lost one senior last year, and we have 14 this year,” Paul said.
Paul grew up on San Juan and has been playing soccer since he was young. His two older brothers played soccer, so it was only natural he followed suit.
“It feels good to come full circle,” he said. Paul stepped in as head coach in 2020, right before the COVID hit, so last year was his first season on the field.
The primary goal is to play really good soccer, he explained, moving off the ball well, playing cohesively as a team. Of course, the state championship is the target, but that all comes from playing well. As far as going to state, Paul said, and the team feels they have a good shot.
“We are much stronger this year,” he said. “The boys are pretty amped up.”
Whatever the outcome, Paul also wants his team to have fun with the sport.
“I want these guys to succeed on and off the team, academically, mentally, physically, and for it to be a really positive experience for them,” Paul said.
There are many up-and-coming players to watch. Newcomers include Fleming Geryman, who comes from Germany. Luke Totten was goalie last year, and a pivotal layer. “He is now a team captain and will be great,’ Paul said.
There are three captains and two co-captains. Senior captains are Jasper Williamson, Jonah Parsons and Eric Corbin, and co-captains are seniors Totten, Colby Border
One of the biggest challenges is the travel that comes with playing school sports in an island community. Friday Harbor probably travels more than any other team in the league, he said, with the exception of Orcas.
“Keeping up with school work, sleep and staying healthy while traveling to other high schools for games is difficult,” Paul said.
Orcas can certainly understand that challenge as well. “Orcas is probably the biggest rival. They consistently put together the best program in our league and play the best soccer. It was a real morale and confidence booster when we beat them last year,” Paul replied when asked which teams were the biggest challenges. “Providence as well. We are eager to play them but we are going to have to work hard going against them.” The last team to beat will be NBC. “Games against NBC have been tight, and we will have to bring our A game against them as well,” Paul said, encouraging islanders to watch and support the team.
“These guys are really excited and it would be great to have the community support. If you like soccer, it will be a fun season to watch,” Paul said.
The first home game of the season will take place Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. against La Conner at the Linde Community Fields.