Sports & Outdoors

Logger soccer team reflects on 2018 and looks to 2019

The Loggers battle Linfield in a 2018 match — Photo courtesy of Logger Athletics

The 2018 men’s varsity soccer season was certainly one the team can be proud of. Though the Loggers didn’t win their league, they came close by the end of the season. According to the Logger Athletics site, the team had a total of five shutout games, scored 40 goals and had a 47.9 percentage rate with shots on target. Taking into account how well the team performed, the bar was raised last season and is certainly expected to be surpassed in the upcoming year.

As the year comes closer and closer to its end, the men’s soccer team has been working hard in the off-season with the goal in mind to take home the league championship next year.

One of the Logger goalkeepers, sophomore Ethan Stern-Ellis, knows how tough it was last season to come so close to winning the league. He still remembers the exciting times throughout his second season with the team.

“We beat PLU at their home and we topped off a seven-game unbeaten streak with that win, so that was really positive for us,” Stern-Ellis said.

Midfielder and first-year Jonathan Vair had lots of highlights with the team during his first year with the squad.

“There were a lot of great moments this season, but some standouts were away at George Fox and away at PLU,” Vair said. “The George Fox game we were down 2-0 at halftime and came back to win 3-2, scoring the last goal with something crazy like 13 seconds left in the game.”

As summer comes to campus, most of the team will be staying in and around Tacoma to keep practicing, conditioning and bonding more as a team. The offseason was a good break in all the action for the team, but Vair was excited to get back into the swing of things during the spring.

“The off-season has been good; after the season ended in November we got a month or two to let our bodies recover and then we hopped into spring training to keep advancing technically,” Vair said.

Also, the team is planning a trip across the pond to England for some international touring and a few games against top competition.

“For next season I’m really excited for our preseason trip to England. Personally it’ll be my first time in Europe and we’ll get to see some opening weekend matches for the English Premier League while also getting some foreign exposure by playing teams from another country,” Vair said.

The handful of preseason games won’t only be a great experience for the team, but they’ll get to test their abilities before the real season kicks off, a sort of baseline examination of how the team will be expected to perform during the league season.

Captain’s practices, where the team works on their physical play and their chemistry on the pitch, have taken up most of the athletes’ time during the spring.

But more than that, some of the players will be playing on semi-professional teams this summer to continue their style of play and to keep practicing for the next season.

“Right now, we’re just doing captain’s practices and a lot of us are going to start training with teams around here, like Washington Premiere and other semi-pro teams,” Stern-Ellis said.

The team is aiming to take home the league championship, since last year they came so close.

“We finished four points off of first place, which is a tie and a win, which was good, but also disappointing since that’s how we finished the past two years. So we’re looking to build off that next year to win the league,” Stern-Ellis said.

Even though the team had to say goodbye to a few senior players during their last season playing for their school, Stern-Ellis is certain that the next year’s unit will continue to improve their play and to bond closer as the season rolls on.

“We definitely lost some good components of our team, but we’re bringing in upwards of 11 new players next year, so we’re going to have a lot of new faces which is going to be exciting because they’ll add a lot to our team,” Stern-Ellis said.

With all the new talent on the roster, next year is already shaping up to be quite a good season for the Loggers.

Both Stern-Ellis and Vair are confident in the team’s skill level already shown in team’s last season, but they’re more excited to see how much farther the team will go from the start.

“We showed flashes of brilliance this past season, but for me it came too late in the season. Next year we’ll be looking to start strong from day one,” Vair said.

Surely the next season will be an exciting one for the Logger team, so make sure to come out to the field and support the school’s squad as they chop down the competition.