Redmond High’s boys soccer team ruled the 3A KingCo conference last year with a tournament title that sent its fans into a frenzy after the 1-0 penalty kick shootout triumph over Mercer Island.
The Mustangs entered the state tourney on a high and won two straight matches before falling in the semifinals.
This season, they’ve kicked back up to 4A KingCo and were 3-1 in league and 6-1 overall at press time under the tutelage of new head coach Trevor Tangen.
Redmond’s trio of senior captains Reece Wiyrick, Jacen Stein and Ricardo Escalante feel there’s a ton of work to be done to leave their mark this season.
“(Last year) was fun, but we definitely didn’t get the goal that we wanted to — our season ended early. What I take away from it I’d say is just preparation, just leading up to the games, practices — everything’s gotta be 100 percent on how we’re gonna play in the game,” said Stein, a forward.
Goalkeeper Escalante, who notched a pair of diving saves in the 3A KingCo title match, looked around the RHS pitch and said the Mustang seniors want to make the most of their time remaining at the school. The underclassmen will be the partners in their quest for success.
“I think that every day we wake up as a whole team and we’re all ready to put in the effort because we all felt like we left something unfinished,” he said of last year. “We didn’t do the job correctly and we fell short. We really are out here to prove something special.”
Defender Wiyrick notched the game-winning PK to win last year’s title and sees good things on the docket this season.
“We only lost a couple people last year, so the chemistry between the team is pretty solid and it’s looking pretty good this year. I’m excited for new competition this year, so it’ll be fun,” he said of the Mustangs’ 4A foes. “Definitely need to watch out for the long balls, I know 4A has a lot of bigger guys.”
Stein’s excitement level is at a premium and he worked out alone and with his teammates to get things sharp for the new campaign. Escalante said that Stein took the initiative to get everyone on board with tons of offseason training. Because of that, everyone’s fully ready to go when the ball is kicked into play.
The Reporter asked Wiyrick, Stein and Escalante a series of questions for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their lives:
If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?
Wiyrick: One of our teammates’ moms (Ethan Cain’s), she’s done a lot for our team.
Stein: I would take Tangen out for dinner and pay for him.
Escalante: I definitely have to go with my girl Ariana Grande. Any day of the week.
What’s a special skill you’d like to learn?
Wiyrick: I think it would be cool to know how to fly a plane.
Stein: Probably speak any language. Maybe learn Hebrew, the language of my descendants.
Escalante: How to maneuver a big boat.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the area?
Wiyrick: El Toreador in downtown Redmond.
Stein: Ooba Tooba’s in Redmond, over by Soccer West, went there through the years after soccer games.
Escalante: Jalisco’s up by Redmond Ridge.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Wiyrick: You can take something away from losing… winning’s not always the best reward.
Stein: My dad used to hammer this in my head, just like if you have a dream, back it up with hard work and effort and you can do anything in life. I believe that.
Escalante: Just keep trying, keep having hope. Everything we’ve done, if you look back at our first year here, there was very little hope. In a matter of a year or two years, we all got heart and we all built up all that pride for our school, and so it really speaks volumes to us here.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Stein: “Austin Powers” the second one.
Escalante: “Star Wars” number three.