Everett Community College’s Olivia Lee (left) and Elizabeth Erickson hold hands in the center of a circle during a passing drill during the Trojans team practice on Oct. 8 at Kasch Park in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett Community College’s Olivia Lee (left) and Elizabeth Erickson hold hands in the center of a circle during a passing drill during the Trojans team practice on Oct. 8 at Kasch Park in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Purchase Photo

Everett CC soccer teams a who’s who of Wesco stars

Both the Trojans’ men’s and women’s teams are heading toward the playoffs, with a local flavor.

Head down to Kasch Park on an afternoon when the Everett Community College soccer teams are practicing simultaneously on adjacent fields and you’ll walk straight into a who’s who of Wesco soccer’s past.

Glance to the left to the men’s field and you may see goalkeeper Cameron Beardsley (former All-Wesco from Snohomish High School) clear a ball that’s controlled in the midfield by Efren Martinez (former All-Wesco from Mariner), who initiates the attack by picking out Manuel Segura (former All-Wesco from Kamiak).

Look to the right to the women’s field and you might spy Olivia Lee (former All-Wesco from Marysville Pilchuck) receiving a feed out of the defensive third from Cassidy Gamble (former All-Wesco from Meadowdale), then weaving through midfield before releasing Emily Marriott (former All-Wesco from Glacier Peak) on goal.

Indeed, Everett’s soccer programs have created a Wesco reunion unlike anything seen at the school in recent years, and those Wesco alumni have the Trojans in position to potentially send both teams to the postseason for the first time since 2013.

“The dynamic is good,” Everett men’s coach Erik Cruz said. “The players, they’ve all played with and against each other. Some of them had rivalries in high school, or they ended up playing in club or academy soccer together. They all seem to know each other, know how they play, and it’s a lot easier to build a team off of that instead of having people from all over the West Coast and trying to make a team out of that.”

There are 38 players between the Everett men’s and women’s soccer teams who are products of Wesco, the high school league that encompasses the 4A and 3A schools from Snohomish County. On the men’s team, 22 of the 26 players are Wesco alums, with 14 of those having garnered All-Wesco recognition at some point during their prep careers. On the women’s team 16 of the 18 players came from Wesco, with six being former all-league performers.

Twelve different Wesco schools are represented on Everett’s teams. Marysville Pilchuck has the most with nine — five on the women’s team and four on the men’s team. The Tomahawks have the most grads on the women’s team and are tied with Cascade for the most on the men’s team.

The Wesco players are helping the Trojans have success, too. Everett’s men’s team is 5-4-1 in North Region play, 8-4-3 overall and ranked fourth in the most recent Northwest Athletic Conference coaches’ poll. The Trojan women are 4-3-3 in region play and 8-4-3 overall and were ranked eighth in the last NWAC coaches’ poll.

While Everett is the heart of Wesco territory, it hasn’t always been the case that the Trojan soccer teams were built so heavily with Wesco players. In recent years the women’s team has been comprised largely of Wesco players, but that hasn’t been the case with the men’s team.

“With me it’s been on and off in Wesco,” Cruz said. “My first few years I was recruiting in California, Nevada and Idaho. This year I saw the talent that Wesco produces and thought, ‘Why not pick them up?’”

“There are so many schools in Wesco and so much talent,” women’s coach Rafael Marins added. “You don’t have to go far to find good players. Just in Marysville you have Getchell and Pilchuck, and in Everett you have Mariner, Cascade and Jackson. Even if teams aren’t getting the results on the field, the teams at the bottom of the table in Wesco you’re still able to find at least one or two good talents.”

Having all the players come from the same league gives Everett an advantage in that the players have some level of familiarity with one another before joining the Trojans.

“Tori Bullard (Glacier Peak), Cassidy Gamble, Emily Marriott, we all played on the same club team from fifth grade to about eighth grade,” women’s team member Caitlynn Daniel, a 2018 Cascade graduate, said. “I pretty much knew most of the girls before coming into the season, rather than meeting a bunch of new strangers. Therefore, I had a feel for every individual.”

That familiarity can also help build chemistry, as players reminisce about past games with and against one another, or even poke a little fun at teammates about old school rivalries.

Everett Community College men’s soccer goalkeeper Cameron Beardsley dives to make a save during the Trojans’ Oct. 8 practice at Kasch Park in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett Community College men’s soccer goalkeeper Cameron Beardsley dives to make a save during the Trojans’ Oct. 8 practice at Kasch Park in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald) Purchase Photo

“Yeah, I get some of that,” admitted Beardsley, who’s an easy target as he was part of Snohomish’s 2015 state championship team. “We have one supporter, Vince (DeSimone). He’s the (former) coach at Mariner and we beat them my junior year for the Wesco championship and the following year we lost to them for the Wesco championship. He’d give me a hard time about robbing them of a goal my junior season.”

Having so many players from one league also serves as a recruiting tool. Lee, a three-time first-team All-Wesco selection, played for the Highline College women’s soccer team last year. However, the strong presence of former Marysville Pilchuck teammates on Everett’s team helped convince her to switch to the Trojans.

“I was thinking of going home,” Lee said. “So I asked my friend Peyton (Nolte) about it and my other friend Beth (Erickson), and they totally convinced me. I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’”

Now Everett is hoping the Wesco connections help the school achieve something it hasn’t in six years by getting both the men’s and women’s soccer teams into the postseason.

The men’s team, which is led by Beardsley in goal, the defensive duo of Cade Cooke (Kamiak) and Abraham Reyes (Marysville Pilchuck), and the scoring pair of Mamadi Sarr (non-Wesco) and Segura, is currently in third place in the North Region. After a close 2-1 loss at second-ranked Peninsula on Saturday, the Trojans believe they can not just make the playoffs — the top three from the region qualify — but make some noise once they get there.

“I think once we start rolling, we can go all the way this year,” Cruz said. “We possess the ball well, we move as a team. I think if we get everyone in the right mindset, and once we beat teams like Peninsula and Whatcom, that will show what we’re really about.”

Everett Community College’s Olivia Lee passes the ball during the Trojans’ Oct. 8 practice at Kasch Park in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Everett Community College’s Olivia Lee passes the ball during the Trojans’ Oct. 8 practice at Kasch Park in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald) Purchase Photo

The women’s team, which has received offensive production from Marriott, Lee and Erickson as well as defensive leadership from Daniel, has lost two straight and now is in fourth place in the region, just one point behind Skagit Valley. The women’s team’s goals are a little more modest.

“We’ve been out of the playoffs the past few years,” Marins said. “So our biggest goal is to secure a spot in the playoffs. After that, I think we’re very capable of making it past that first round.”

But however far the Everett soccer teams go, it will be because of the fuel provided by Wesco.

If you have an idea for a community sports story, email Nick Patterson at npatterson@heraldnet.com.

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