ILWACO — Twenty-five players, 19 of them freshmen or sophomores, have turned out for the inaugural season of Ilwaco boys’ soccer.

Soccer at Ilwaco began with the girls’ season this fall. Andrew Goodwin, who coached that team, will also lead the boys. But whereas the girls eased in with a mostly junior-varsity schedule, the boys will be thrown straight into the 1A Evergreen league with Elma, Forks, Hoquiam, Montesano, Raymond and Tenino.

Many of the players have youth soccer experience, some having played together. Ethan Personius, a senior, last played in seventh grade, has been relearning the game in practices, and seen the team gradually gel.

“It was rough when we first came out,” he said. “I was frustrated with where my skills were. We’re working on seeing the game as a team.”

Jaden Turner, who played club soccer for the past four years and is one of 10 freshmen on the team, described a similar process.

“We’re getting into the rhythm of the game, getting used to the movements and patterns, the passing,” he said.

To get a feel for high school soccer, Turner and some teammates went to watch Tenino play last week. Tenino was Ilwaco’s first opponent in a Tuesday, March 19 away game (after press time). Players also watched a televised professional game as one of their practices.

Goodwin plans to run a 3-4-3 system, a different system than he used with the girls, as he seeks to adapt to his personnel.

“It’s a little more attack-driven,” he said. “We’ve got several boys who are good strikers.”

Goodwin anticipates that Personius and Turner will be the top scoring threats. Danner Tynkila will be the goal-keeper. Ethan Cavin will be the backup option in goal but will also play the field.

The team recruited a few senior athletes who have made names for themselves in other sports. Personius quarterbacked the football team. Brandon Duke is a long-time wrestler and football player. John Glenn is a long-time basketball player who Goodwin plans to play in the midfield, saying he has good passing vision. Goodwin sees Anderson Stoddard, making the switch from track, as perhaps the top defender.

After Tuesday’s all-time opener at Tenino, the home opener is Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m. against Montesano, which went 0-11-2 last season.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or aaroncmead@gmail.com.

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