Sports

Myatt repeats as soccer first team all-Cascade Conference forward

Pat Myatt scored 14 goals during his senior season on the Falcon boys soccer team. He led the team in scoring, and was among the conference’s top scorers en route to being voted to the first team all-Cascade Conference for a second time.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Pat Myatt scored 14 goals during his senior season on the Falcon boys soccer team. He led the team in scoring, and was among the conference’s top scorers en route to being voted to the first team all-Cascade Conference for a second time.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

LANGLEY — Pat Myatt is a lot of things.

He’s a senior at South Whidbey.

He’s a son to Ann Votova and Mike Myatt.

He’s a brother.

He’s a Utah native. He’s a Freeland resident.

He’s a traveler.

He’ll soon be a student at Western Washington University.

He’s brash. He’s bold. He’s quick.

He’s also a first team all-Cascade Conference forward in boys soccer. And it’s the second year in a row he earned the honor.

“There were a lot of games where if it wasn’t for the goals or the assists that he was providing, even though we had one of the best goalies around, we wouldn’t have been as successful,” said South Whidbey boys soccer head coach Joel Gerlach.

His coach had another description of what Myatt is.

“He’s one of those guys that when you play a team a second time, they put another guy on him.”

Myatt, who wore jersey number 14, scored 14 goals this season to lead the Falcons and be one of the top scorers in the conference. Part of his season’s story is the three games he scored three goals in, each, which gave cause to his nickname “Hat Trick” Patrick.

Another part of his season’s story is the goal he scored in a shootout against Sultan that sent South Whidbey to districts.

His ability to score led Gerlach to select Myatt as one of three co-captains for this year’s team.

Each co-captain had a specific role to play as leaders on the field. All seniors, Myatt, TJ Russell and Dean Freundlich worked together like a knight in battle. If all-conference and all-area goalie Russell is the armor, and all-conference defender Freundlich is the shield, then Myatt is the sword.

“He’s the guy that kind of provided the attitude,” Gerlach said. “He’s the guy that could set the tempo.”

He’s also intense, sometimes to a fault.

Gerlach described Myatt in one word: energetic.

Of the three senior co-captains, no one received such frequent one-on-ones or hands-off coaching with Gerlach in equal measures, as Myatt. There were times when Myatt was heard from the stands cheering his team’s defenders for a stop or steal.

Other times, Myatt could be heard from the stands pleading with the field referee for a call. Sometimes he’d implore his teammates to fight for possession and play tight.

“He’s a good player motivator. I think he did a lot of learning as a captain this year. He learned how to manage people as a captain,” the coach recalled.

At different times during all of these occasions, Gerlach would either let him speak, or he’d pull him aside and tell him to reevaluate the impact of his passions, enthusiasm, competitiveness and vocal leadership.

“When you get a really good forward, there’s a certain amount of self-confidence, almost to the point of arrogance,” Gerlach said. “Because you want to have the ball.”

“Where I think I helped him this year was he’d get too fired up and let his emotions run his game,” Gerlach added.

He’s also resilient. When he was still in elementary school on South Whidbey, his stepfather Tim Kelley died from lung cancer. From then on, it was Pat, his sister and his mom.

In at least a small way, that resiliency lent itself to Myatt maintaining the attitude that the team was a title contender, even in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

The team turned its season around and won five games consecutively and won a district play-in game against Sultan that sent South Whidbey to the district playoffs against Bellingham and Squalicum.

Those games left him feeling the team had fallen short of its potential and goals.

“I think about what we could’ve done,” Myatt said. “We could never just get that goal.”

“I think we had a real shot at state,” he added.

When he was younger, Myatt played baseball, basketball, football and soccer. He loved basketball the most and came to a difficult understanding that his stature  — he’s 5-foot-5 — might limit his abilities and opportunities in some of those sports. Soccer became his main sport by eighth grade when he played for a select South Whidbey soccer team coached by Connor McCauley’s dad.

That was four years ago. Hop in the DeLorean and go back to the future, Myatt will be in some of the world’s best known soccer, or rather fütbol, arenas and stadiums.

Myatt finished his last high school final on June 15 before the senior parade. With high school classes behind him, he said he was ready to leave the island for his European vacation on June 21.

He and two fellow Falcons, one a soccer teammate (Miles Goodman), the other his best friend the homecoming king (Seth Sobottka), will travel to Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Prague and Pamplona for the infamous running of the bulls.

“It’s about making memories with my friends,” he said.

With youthful abandon, Myatt said he didn’t know why the three young men agreed to run with the bulls, except that the entire trip is built around building memories with his friends.

“We’re kind of cooped-up on the island,” Myatt said.

The sword strikes, and gives a flower.

“There’s not a lot to do,” Myatt said, “but I think I like that.”

Replacing Myatt, and all the things he was and is, will be difficult, Gerlach said. He has hope that the sophomores on the team this year will make great strides to fill the gap left by Myatt and the other seniors.

“There’s other guys who will step up and fill that role in different ways,” Gerlach said.

While Gerlach’s attention is already on soccer, if it ever fully leaves it, Myatt’s is fixed east toward Europe, then north toward Bellingham and all the memories in between.

One memory he will have is the season he scored 14 goals and repeated as an all-conference soccer forward.

“I played to have fun, really,” Myatt said.

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