Redmond High’s boys soccer players have much to be thrilled about in recent times.
The Mustangs unleashed a historic season this spring with a 3A KingCo title and a third-place finish in the state tournament. Soccer was on the tips of many people’s tongues around the community and the boys are ready to go at it again next season as they leap back onto the 4A KingCo terrain.
Many of the talented returners were together again this week at the inaugural Junior Mustangs Boys Soccer Camp, which took place on the same pitch where goalkeeper Ricardo Escalante made two diving saves in penalty kicks and Reece Wiyrick converted the game-winner to defeat Mercer Island, 1-0, in the league championship match in May.
The camp was open to players in grades 3-9, and the Mustangs and coaches got kids fired up about soccer and perhaps one day filling their boots on the RHS field. Overall, 28 youngsters and about 20 Mustang players spent their time at the three-day camp.
Escalante was ultra-excited during the first day of the camp as he cheered on his young Brazilian Bananas team during a dribbling competition. He jumped up and down and encouraged his players the whole time.
“Let’s go boys! Confidence, boys!” Escalante roared.
New RHS head varsity coach Trevor Tangen said there was an overflowing amount of enthusiasm, energy and positivity at the camp.
“Yes, skills and development is important, but more than anything else, soccer is a fun time, soccer is a lifestyle, and we just really wanna get kids excited about the game. Soccer has played a huge role in my life as well as my kids’ lives,” said Tangen, who replaces Lacy Wilkinson in the varsity coaching spot.
Cole Johnson, 12, said he had fun learning some dribbling techniques at the camp, which also featured his older brother and Mustang Luke. Cole added that Luke has taught him to play tough on the soccer field.
The Cain brothers, Jonah, 15, and Liam, 10, joined their varsity sibling, Ethan, at the camp as well.
“Being out there and playing with them is really cool,” Jonah said about the varsity Stangs.
Liam added that during his experience he was, “Just having fun with friends I knew before and new friends that I met today.” Learning foot skills and quick touches are new additions to his soccer arsenal.
Varsity returner Jacen Stein looked just as happy exiting the field as he did after the Mustangs won the KingCo title. Stein said he helped get the youngsters focused on having a positive attitude, dribbling and putting the ball in the back of the net.
Stein said one of the main things he absorbed with the Mustangs last season was implementing a game plan to its fullest. He’s already looking forward to next spring and 4A KingCo ball.
“It excites me to get ready for next season. Just kind of thinking about it and knowing we still have another chance to achieve our ultimate goal. That it’s not over,” Stein said.
Tangen said that he’s always been taught that when you earn success, you give others the same opportunity to make their mark. He praised the Mustangs for doing just that and for spending part of their summer break teaching the youngsters.
“It is an exciting time for Redmond soccer,” Tangen added. “(The) girls program is doing a fantastic job in their own right. Our boys program here, we come off a historic season where we proved a lot of people wrong, and we surprised a lot of people. Now going into this year, I wanna no longer to be a surprise, I want us to be an established team, both across the state but also giving back to our community, which is why we’re doing the camp.”