SUMNER — This time, there was no doubt. A shootout was not needed. The Chelan boys soccer team left absolutely no question that it was the best 1A program in the state this season.
The Goats, who lost last year’s 1A state championship game to Overlake in a shootout, beat Seattle Christian 3-1 on Saturday to win the state title at Sunset Chevrolet Stadium.
“This is everything (the kids) have worked for, and all they ever wanted,” Chelan coach Jamie Richards said. “(When the game ended), they were loud and emotional. I’m so proud of them. There were some tears from the coaches. It was a storybook season — first place in (the Caribou Trail League), first place in districts and first place at state. We have a lot of talent on our side.”
The Goats didn’t win this championship strictly on talent, however. When Richards, a former Wenatchee Fire player, took over the program three years ago, he began to stress discipline, teamwork and the creation of a true family bond.
All of those intangibles helped Chelan during the season and during Saturday’s title game.
“We do have talent, but our speed, our ball work, our chemistry, there’s a lot more to it,” Richards said. “There’s always been a lot of talent in the valley. Trying to keep them focused for 23 games was tough to do; I think at their age it was hard for them to see that far ahead. There were in the moment a lot of the time. But the coaches took on the (responsibility) of keeping them focused on the task at hand.”
Chelan, which beat Lynden Christian 2-0 in Friday’s semifinal, knew that it would be up against a tough competitor Saturday; Seattle Christian came back to beat Okanogan 4-3 in Friday’s other semifinal.
But Eleazar Galvan scored early in the first half to give the Goats an early lead, and Erik Garcia added goals to extend their advantage.
“We came out with the same plan that we always have,” Richards said. “We wanted to play with high intensity and high pressure, and we succeeded with that. By getting up 1-0 early, we set the tone for the game. We got 110 percent effort from every single person out there. We always want to come out strong, but we typically come out slow. We didn’t this time. The kids were focused.”
Chelan’s defense had another standout performance, limiting the Warriors to one goal.
“They were solid as a rock,” Richards said. “In the first half, we controlled the game and out-shot (Seattle Christian). The first part of the second half was a little slow, but then we started to take more possessions.”
Okanogan takes fourth place
Okanogan lost to Lynden Christian 3-1 on Saturday in the consolation final and finished in fourth place.
Jorge Marquez tallied the Bulldogs’ lone goal in the 77th minute.
“We touched the ball more than they did in the first half, but we were kind of wore down and ran out of gas,” Okanogan coach Dean Klepec said. “We had a tough time getting offense going in the second half.”
The Bulldogs finished fourth in the CTL but made the program’s first semifinals appearance.
“The season has been great,” Klepec said. “We knew early on that the league was really tough, and we knew we had to get into the top four. By the end of the season, we started playing really well as a team. I’m proud of the kids; they had a great season.”