The South Whidbey Reign’s rule of the state championship is over after the boys U-19 soccer club lost 3-0 to Seattle United on Feb. 8 in Tukwila.
Being eliminated from the Presidents Cup also ended an eight-year era of these players together, most of whom play for the South Whidbey High School Falcons.
“They had a remarkable run and it was not always easy,” said Reign coach Terry Swanson. “But I will miss being on the field with these players.”
The Seattle squad went on to win the Washington Youth Soccer title 3-0 over Nortac Colibri Pablo. Both of the championship game’s teams were the only ones to defeat South Whidbey in the playoffs this season.
Swanson, in a news release to The Record, said many of the Reign players have been on the same team for 12 years. They started in the South Whidbey Youth Soccer Club leagues, advanced to the Revolution and then eventually formed the select team, the Reign.
Since becoming the Reign, South Whidbey amassed a 25-8-3 record over two years. Its statistical accomplishments stand out as well, scoring 127 goals and allowing only 39.
South Whidbey won three division titles in the North Puget Sound League and was runner-up in Division 3 of the state association’s designated “highly competitive” league.
Swanson, who shepherded the players through the many iterations of the team, said he watched many life lessons get passed on to the boys. The importance of discipline, dedication, addressing challenges head-on, and working with people who they may not get along with to achieve a common goal.
The longtime coach thanked several people, including assistant coach Don Zisette; managers Michele Zisette and Vicky Hassrick; trainers Ernie Merino, Dino Michaelides, Joe Miller, Oliver Jeffreis and Joseph Supang; South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District staff and commissioners; and the parents and guardians of Reign players.
“I will greatly miss these players and coaching this team,” he wrote. “You cannot spend 10-12 years coaching a group of dedicated boys, and now young men, without feeling like they are members of your family.”
South Whidbey Reign includes: Bryce Auburn, Anders Bergquist, Coel Cable, Max Cassee, Kai da Rosa, Kameron Donohoe, John Gibson, Justin Gonzales, Quinn Hassrick, Davin Kesler, Lucas Leiberman, Jeffrey Meier, Tucker Middlebrook, Lochlan Roberts, Oliver Saunsaucie, Charley Stelling, Thomas Swanson and Andrew Zisette.