For the second consecutive year, the current Peninsula High School boys soccer team squared off against a group of alumni on Saturday at Roy Anderson Field.
The alumni came out on top, 5-2, but second-year coach Brian Lawson said the game was more about fostering a sense of community.
“I think it’s good for the program,” Lawson said. “I think it’s good to keep these guys connected and involved, and, also, I think it’s a good match for the current players. It’s good competition, it’s an opportunity to get out and play, and also to have some fun. And, like I said, just to build the community and keep people connected.”
This year’s group of alumni grew from about 10 players to 17 this year, showing the success and progress of the event, Lawson said.
For current senior captain Noah Hanks, the game was a fun chance to catch up with some former players he hadn’t seen in a while.
“It was a lot of fun, especially some of the guys — I haven’t seen Austin Miller in like three years,” Hanks said. “I remember some of the guys I’ve been playing with since we did this alumni game last year. It’s just a lot of fun, another chance to touch the ball around and play with your buddies.”
Hanks said the team can learn from the experience of the alumni, and the way they play the game with a purpose.
“Obviously, they don’t play as much as we do, but all their touches and all their passes are on point,” Hanks said. “You can tell, you don’t have to work as hard, as long as you make the ball do the work. You can see how different people play, and you can put that into our repertoire of how we play.”
Lawson brought the idea of an alumni game last year to Peninsula High School athletic director Phil Willenbrock. Lawson, who attended Peninsula High, said he sees the value of fostering a strong community with the soccer program.
As the Seahawks begin to enter Class 3A South Puget Sound League competition, it’s just another chance to face off against talented players.
“I think it’s just an opportunity to continue working on what we’ve been working on all along,” Lawson said. “It’s an opportunity to continue training, both tactically and technically, what we’ve been working on in training up to this point. It’s just another opportunity to get another game in and have some fun doing it.”
Lawson wants to see his current team improve on some things before league play starts. Most notably, he wants to see his players become more aggressive on the attack.
“In the attacking third, we’ve gotta have people that want to score,” Lawson said. “We have to make runs through, we have to play through balls and play around the defenders, and I just told them to be a little more selfish at the end of the game, especially my central midfielders. I told them to be a little more selfish and make those center backs commit, play around them.”
Hanks echoed his coach’s message.
“Take the ball and go, put their defense under pressure,” Hanks said. “And then you just dish it out. Just a little more selfish in the midfield, and keep it simple and possess the ball, and we should be good.”Jon Manley: 253-358-4151 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @gateway_jon