Sports Zone

Thurston boys soccer seeing improvement

The Thurston High School boys soccer team has had a rough time as a program recently. The team hasn’t made the playoffs in almost 15 years, and hasn’t had a winning record since 2007. In March of this year, however, the school announced Jake Bonnett as the new boys soccer coach, and Bonnett has the team fighting to break both of those streaks in his first year. 

“We’re trying to do a rebuild, while at the same time putting together some wins, taking a shot at the league title here,” Bonnett said. “The guys, from day one, they showed up, they worked hard, they’re adjusting to what I’m doing. And I’m just super proud of the way that they’re responding.”

Bonnett, an assistant at Sheldon last year, currently has the Colts sitting at 4-6-2, and 2-2 in league play. Starting a rebuild is a daunting task at a school that’s had tremendous success in the athletic department, and it’s even more daunting when you’re coaching a team with only two seniors. Despite the inexperienced team, the players have stepped up big-time. 

“We’ve got a young team. We’ve got a lot of young players, but the leadership that we have gotten out of our seniors has been fantastic. Finn (Dumars) and Connor (Nevin) from day one … Carlos Vega is another guy who stepped into a captain role,” said Bonnett. “It took them a couple of games, but the leadership from them … has just been fantastic.”

Dumars has been key for the team, playing through injury in an important game two weeks ago against Eagle Point and scoring two goals, including the game-winner in the 72nd minute. Meanwhile, Nevin is a name many will recognize, as the senior kicks for the Thurston football team while also leading the soccer defense at the left-back position.

Thurston senior Finn Dumars (center)
Thurston freshman Yurem Martinez (11) dribbles against Eagle Point
Dumars (10) makes a pass in Thurston’s 2-1 win

While Bonnett’s helped the team’s turnaround, he’ll be the first to tell you he isn’t doing it alone. The player’s commitment to the culture he’s trying to build has been key, as has the support of the school and community.

“The culture here it’s all about family. And I feel that from the athletic director, Justin Stark, I feel that from our bookkeeper, every single person in the office at Thurston has just been so welcoming,” he said. “It’s not just the soccer family. It really is an athletics family. It’s a school family. So the transition, honestly, they made it super easy.”

“Anytime there’s a new coach, or there’s a new formation or anything like that, sometimes guys can, they can fall apart, they can kind of get mad that their favorite old coach moved on somewhere,” Bonnett said. “But they’ve just responded. I brought in some amazing coaches. (Assistant coach) Jorge (Huaracha-Canchola) has just been absolutely fantastic … Just everybody’s embraced the change. And I couldn’t be happier with where I’m at right now.”

No matter the result of this year, Bonnett has a young team moving in the right direction. Bonnett said he wants to build a brand of soccer that focuses on fighting every single game, and so far it’s catching on.

“It’s just the ‘never give up’ attitude,” said Bonnett. “It’s just the next man. Next man up mentality is kind of cliche, but that’s where we’re at. And that’s just what we have to do and we can’t give up.”

The Colts, as of Tuesday morning, have two games remaining, Tuesday night at Churchill and Saturday afternoon at No. 15 Crater. If the Colts manage to win those games, they just might sneak into the playoffs.



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