Cascade sophomore Samuel Agyei has blossomed into a soccer star

EVERETT — When the Cascade High School boys soccer team conducted tryouts for the 2014 season, Samuel Agyei was the big mystery.

But Bruins coach Sam Croft had an inkling of what was coming.

“My son knows Sam real well, they’re in they same class,” Croft, in his first year as Cascade’s coach, recalled. “When he came out, Chase kept telling me, ‘Hey dad, this guys is the real deal.’”

Agyei has been all that and more for the Bruins, and the sophomore striker has led Cascade back to boys soccer prominence.

Cascade travels to Spokane to face Ferris tonight in the first-round of the Class 4A state tournament. It’s the first state appearance for the Bruins since 2007, a long drought for a school that reached the state-championship game five straight years from 1987-91.

And Agyei has played a major role in that revitalization.

“It’s been a really good season,” said Agyei, who has 11 goals this season, including scoring twice in two different games during the District 1 tournament. “It’s not everything that I wanted, but it’s been really good so far.”

Agyei (pronounced uh-JAY) is the ideal fit for someone playing the lone-striker role in a 4-2-3-1 formation. He has the speed to blow past defenders and the height to head home crosses. He has an accurate shot that can pick out corners. But his best skill is his close ball control, which leads to eye-popping moments when he’s surrounded by opponents, only to somehow wriggle himself and the ball through all of them.

Croft, who came to Cascade this season after serving as an assistant coach at Archbishop Murphy, compares Agyei to former Wildcats star Josh Bartley, the Herald’s boys soccer Player of the Year last season.

“He reminds me so much of Josh,” Croft said. “Just look at his build: He’s tall, he’s thin. He’s great with the ball and willing to take on four guys — and he’s one of those guys who beats the fourth guy. He also plays like Josh because he has about five assists. He’s not just taking the ball himself, he’s looking for the smart goal.”

Agyei’s silky-smooth ball skills were first developed in his native Ghana, a country where soccer is as much a religion as a sport. Kids play pick-up games from the moment the school day ends until the sun goes down. His older brother, Eric, as much as forced Agyei to learn close control.

“Every single time I kicked the ball with my toe, he’d get so mad,” Agyei said with a grin. “I started learning how to pass with the side foot and he started letting me play with the older guys.”

Agyei’s father studied abroad in the United States, and when Agyei was 8 years old, his family moved from Ghana to Snohomish County so the children could get a better education.

After an adjustment period in the U.S., Agyei began flourishing in the local select system, playing for Tynecastle FC. However, his prep career was delayed as a hip avulsion fracture wiped out his freshman season, meaning he was sprung unannounced on both Cascade and the Wesco 4A South this spring.

“He’s very creative, yet he’s also a disciplined player, too,” Croft said. “At tryouts I wasn’t quite sure about his discipline, but two months down the road he’s definitely shown to me he’s the real deal.

“He’s a great kid,” Croft added. “When he’s out here, he’s out here to work. Everybody feeds off of him. Knowing he’s only a sophomore makes me really happy.”

Agyei and the Bruins didn’t look anything like a state-playoff team early on. Cascade began th.e season 1-5-1 and seemed set for yet another year as a Wesco also-ran. But the Bruins staged a remarkable turnaround, going 9-1-1 over their next 11 games to reach the district championship game, where they lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to Snohomish.

That momentum has the Bruins believing they can be a factor at state, despite a 10-7-2 record that’s modest compared to their opposition.

Said Agyei: “If we play like how we have been playing, I think we can go far.”

Regardless of how Cascade fares at state, it’s safe to say Agyei is a mystery no longer.

Nick Patterson can be reached at

Talk to us

More in Sports

Stanwood's Owen Thayer makes a layup during the game against Mountlake Terrace on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Prep basketball weekly update: Storylines from around the area

Chaos atop Wesco 3A/2A boys, a GP boys buzzer-beater, a signature Lake Stevens girls victory, and more.

The Shorecrest bench reacts to a missed shot in the final seconds of regular time to send the game against Arlington to overtime on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 in Arlington, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Wave of cancellations wreaking havoc on winter prep sports

‘It’s just been so hard’: Canceled games and program shutdowns have been commonplace for local teams.

Seattle University's Hal Uderitz, a Snohomish High School graduate, competes during a game against Portland on Sept. 12, 2019. (Photo provided by Seattle U)
Snohomish grad hopes to earn contract with Sounders

Hal Uderitz was drafted in the third round by Seattle and aims to prove in preseason he’s deserving of a first-team contract.

Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) looks on as Kraken center Calle Jarnkrok (19) clears the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Appleton, Grubauer lead Kraken to 5-3 win over Panthers

Seattle scored three goals in the second period and knocked off the NHL’s points leaders.

Oregon guard Rivaldo Soares (11) makes a pass against Washington guard Terrell Brown Jr. (23) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Eugene, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd)
Huskies go down big in loss to rival Oregon

UW fell behind 37-8 and never came close in a blowout loss to the Ducks.

Stanwood's Kaeden McGlothin yells after stealing the ball from Mountlake Terrace's Adison Mattix to seal the win for Stanwood on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Stanwood pulls out ‘gritty’ win over Mountlake Terrace

The Spartans answered every Mountlake Terrace push in a tense fourth quarter for a 63-62 victory.

Winter prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Saturday, Jan. 22

Prep results for Saturday, Jan. 22: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Huuhtanen scores twice, leads Silvertips past Royals

In its only game of the week, first-place Everett beats Victoria 5-3 on the road.

Chicago State guard Aaliyah Collins, a Glacier Peak High School graduate. (Sebastian Montoya / Chicago State Athletics)
Community roundup: GP grad shines again for Chicago State

Plus, professional bull riding is coming to Everett, former Silvertips are headed to the Olympics and more.

Most Read