Stayton Boys Soccer Refocused

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

STAYTON, Ore.–  One thing about a Chris Shields-led Stayton Boys Soccer team is that they are always working.  Grinding out and improving and wanting to just get that one-percent better in every faucet of the game on a daily basis.

“He’s just trying to get us to play our best.  I know a lot of guys out here, they hurt from last year and I do too and I want to get that back,” Riley Burns said of the program.  “It was good how it could be in the season and then once you get into playoffs, just that extra little bit makes a difference.  We didn’t get it but we’re working a little bit harder for it this year.”

For Burns, he was a sophomore on the Eagles team that were Co-Oregon West Conference Champions in 2021.  The tenth time since 2010 the Eagles have at least gotten a share of the League Title as they shared the honor with eventual State Champions Philomath.  The two squads splitting their league games in 2021 with the road team winning, but fell in their 4A State Playoff Opener a few days after clinching the conference in heartbreaking fashion to Ontario.

The fire was there Wednesday night as they went back to work, knowing they had their opportunities in that playoff game.  The squad’s preparing for another year and yet another grueling league schedule ahead with the Warriors, Cascade, Newport, Sweet Home and the return of North Marion to the conference after spending the last four years in the Tri-Valley Conference.  The Huskies reached the 4A State Semifinals before falling to Philomath in overtime down at Crescent Valley High School.

But with how tough the conference has been with the Warriors building on up and the recent past with Woodburn, the Eagles are prepared and familiar with a tough league schedule going into this season.  Adjusting their backline will be important as will working on their communication points Roman Gould as him and incoming senior Luis Meija battle it out for the starting goalkeeping job this Fall

Stayton went 13-2 in the Fall, 2021 on the heels of a 12-0, Covid Championship season in the Spring short-season as the Eagles return all but four seniors from last season’s 4A Playoff squad (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“Last year there was a lot of pressure at the beginning of the season being a freshman starting in a bigger school following the year that they won the Championship, there was a lot of pressure but as the season went on we started communicating.  We started to run with the flow of the team and eventually got used to it,” Gould starts. “This year me and Luis are trying to get that starting spot.  Either way it’s good for both of us.

“We both got some things we need to work on and we work well together.  We both know what we need to work on.  I’ll help him with something and he’ll help me with something, so we just work really well together.”

The Stayton program has always seemed to have a weird way of responding after a tough way to end the previous season with a great season.  Look no further than 2016 and the 2017 seasons. and the 2018 and 2019 seasons over the course of the past six, seven years and this upcoming season has the same kind of feel as they start the season August 30 against Molalla at home.  

They take the lessons from the previous season to heart as they went through the following season following heartbreak and the sediment is ringing the same again during the first week of their season Wednesday.

“Don’t wait.  Work harder and don’t expect it to come, keep going until you’re done with the season because it’ll end way too short,” Burns said.

  The Eagles open the Oregon West Conference schedule September 22 at Sweet Home.  

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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