SVSJ preview: Mount Si boys’ soccer looks to replicate the run Wildcat boys hoops just finished – and perhaps win it all themselves

EDITOR’S NOTE: This morning, we feature a preview of Mount Si High School’s boys’ soccer team, a team with similar goals to what just were accomplished this past week by Mount Si’s boys’ basketball team – a trip to the state playoffs and a chance at a title.

“This has been an epic year.” Those were the words that came out of Mount Si High School head boys’ soccer coach Darren Brown’s mouth last Saturday when we stopped by their practice at Chief Kanim Middle School in Fall City.

Brown, who also serves as the school’s athletic director, and the other members of MSHS’s administrative team, headed by principal John Belcher and assistant principals Sana Tariq, Brian Ferguson and Greg Hart, have presided over a school year that has seen a number of tremendous successes – the Wildcat boys’ basketball team finishing second, a state championship for MSHS cross country star Joe Waskom, the jazz band being invited to compete once again in the prestigious Essentially Ellington competition, Mount Si cheer winning two national titles among others – and that list may grow this spring, as Brown’s boys’ soccer team may themselves be poised for significant success.

“There’s no hiding it, we’re loaded. People know it,” Brown said. He is back for his 15th season at the helm of Wildcat boys soccer, and brings back a significant portion of the team which last season finished a solid 11-6-3 and survived the loser-out gauntlet of the Kingco 4A playoffs to make the state tournament, falling in the first round to Sumner.

Back this season are senior forward Mateo DiDomenico, midfielder Jared Davies and defender Reed Paradissis, along with younger players Sullivan Smith, Banner Hovinga and Colby Ramsey. However, there is one high-profile add that could put Mount Si over the top and make them the favorites to win it all this season.

Forward Drew Harris played in his freshman year for the Wildcats but then decided to join the Seattle Sounders Academy program, where he spent the past two seasons. As the Sounder Academy doesn’t allow its players to play high school soccer, Harris did not don scarlet and gray for these past two years. However, over the winter, the program released Harris allowing him to come aboard for his senior season and he hopes to bring what he learned the past two years with the Sounders to the field this season.

“The Sounders are definitely a professional organization,” Harris said. “Everything they do is professional.” He continued, “I learned a lot especially in advancing my soccer IQ and I think I can help this team a lot by sharing certain ideas and expressing different ways of how to play.”

“I love Drew. He’s a great kid, he works hard, and he’s a good role model for a lot of his teammates and other kids. He’s just a great player,” Brown said.

With the roster being loaded with returners, that means newcomers are a little bit hard to come by this spring for Mount Si, but there is one high-profile newcomer – freshman Joey Salem. When we interviewed him on Saturday for this story, he was wearing a sweatshirt bearing the logo of a recent Olympic Development Program tournament he competed in. The Olympic Development Program is a high-level program, so Salem comes into the MSHS program with some pretty nice credentials that should add a little more to what is already a strong team. He’s hoping for leadership from his senior teammates. “Show me how practices go and all that stuff,” Salem said. “Kind of be a leader to me.”

Harris is ready to do his part to help his freshman teammate. “Helping him become more confident on the ball, and confidence not just on the ball, but being able to feel free to express his ideas; if he sees something different than how we see it on the field and letting him know that he can share it with us,” Harris said.

Paradissis is also ready for the season ahead. He is still deciding where he plans on going to college this fall – Portland’s Concordia University, an NCAA Division II program, has talked to him recently – but says that the excitement for the season isn’t simply contained to the players themselves. How about their parents? “My mom was just talking to me about it this morning. She was like, ‘That’s got to be you guys, let’s do it again,’” Paradissis said. “It just takes that extra gear to say, ‘Hey, I want this really bad and I want to go do it.'”

The league is expected to be a tale of two halves. A strong top half and weak bottom half. Mount Si is likely viewed as the Kingco 4A title favorite, but other teams to watch are the usuals – Issaquah and Skyline – and Redmond, who won the Kingco 3A last season, returns to the 4A league after a two-year trip down to 3A, so they will also be a team to keep an eye on.

Brown’s coaching staff this season could be the best he’s had as a Mount Si head coach. Longtime right-hand man Ben Tomlisson is back for his 14th season as the lead assistant, and they both are joined by a couple of first-year coaches with ties to Mount Si. Reid Howland, who graduated a couple years ago and is a former player under Brown, is on board as an assistant, and Eddie Becker, who was a goalkeeper for the Wildcats during the tenure of the late former head coach Bruce Caldwell, joins the program coaching the goalkeepers after spending the past several seasons in a similar capacity with Seattle’s Lakeside School.

Mount Si opens the season on Saturday with a game at Kentwood against the Conquerors at 1:00. They’ll open the Kingco 4A schedule next Wednesday night at Bothell, then open the home schedule March 15 against Lake Washington. The schedule initially had a Valley Cup game against Cedarcrest, but both schools overbooked so they, according to Brown, mutually agreed to drop the game but will attempt to play it next season. That had been scheduled for April 1. Home games will primarily start at 7:30 p.m. but there are a couple of exceptions – home games April 5, 6 and 8 will start at different times. The April 5 game with Camas is a 7:00 kick, followed by a 1:00 afternoon start April 6 with Union and a 5:00 game April 8 with Wenatchee, an earlier start that night to allow for Wenatchee to travel safely back that evening to eastern Washington.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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