MARYSVILLE – The Marysville-Pilchuck boys soccer team’s success is based on the quality of the players and their behavior on and off the field.
Marysville-Pilchuck coach Kyle Suits strives to imbue his players with character that will exhibit itself not only on the soccer field but in life.
“The starting point in my opinion has to be the people,” Suits said. “The object of the game is to win games but in reality these kids will be adults a lot longer than they are soccer players.
“Years ago when I was building this thing,” Suits said of taking over the program in 1991, “the individuals had to be the priority. We are constantly talking about character and representing the community. So for me personally, it’s a much bigger picture than the athletes. I’d say more than anything we are developing the people first.”
Any player who makes one of Marysville-Pilchuck’s teams is asked to show good sportsmanship and act in a way to better the community.
Seniors Chad Deaver and Tyler Thomas have taken the M-P tradition Suits has created and passed it on to future classes
“To be a leader and to show others what you are suppose to do, to be a good sport,” Deaver said of Suits expectations. “To help out where you can.”
“We have to show good sportsmanship on and off the field,” Thomas said. “We have to play teams like Snohomish and Lake Stevens aggressively. We are not coming out to hurt any player and if Suits sees that type of attitude in a player, he will not tolerate that.”
Building on a history-making season
The Tomahawks (13-6-0 overall last year) made history by winning two district games and were within one victory of the state tournament. Lake Stevens defeated M-P 2-0 for the final 4A state berth from District 1.
M-P will have to contend with the defending state champion (Snohomish) in the Wesco North as well as Lake Stevens, which finished fourth in the state tournament.
The Tomahawks return a defense anchored by Deaver and Clayton West, who were named to the all-Wesco North team as honorable mentions. Kaleb Kuehn, one of the best keeper’s in the state, will patrol between the pipes for M-P.
“I can count on them being there and they can count on me being right there behind them,” Kuehn said of the defense.
The middle is where Thomas, a Wesco North second-team selection, roams to spark the Tomahawks’ offense. Junior Nick Burdett will lead the M-P front line.
“We almost made it to state last year, we were one game away,” Thomas said. “I think we have a good chance this year and this is the most excited I have been before a season.
A program on solid ground
The Tomahawks almost doubled their number of kids at tryouts. M-P had 112 kids tryout for about 60 positions.
“I think it is a growing sport, but I think our program is getting a really good name. A lot of people want to be a part of it,” Deaver said.
“I spend virtually no time on indoctrinating those young kids because the seniors do it now,” Suits said. “Man, it’s funny if you get a young kid out of line, it’s not the coaches on him immediately it’s the upperclassmen.
“Now we can focus on coaching and player development as opposed to discipline and all the other things that a lot of novice coaches go through,” Suits said.
Community and school support
If you walk the halls of M-P High School you may hear the start of a buzz in your ears. The school has caught on to the fact that this team could be very successful.
“There is a movement in the school,” Kuehn said. “It is really exciting. We have people making T-shirts for us now and a lot of people mention they want to come and watch us play.”
“You have a community team, which a high school team should be,” Suits said.
“The Marysville Force program has done an exceptional job, which shows up in our 112 kids trying out because that’s where a lot of our kids came from. It use to be players would go elsewhere to play but now they have a viable option right here in Marysville to play. So, kudos to the Force program.”