Thuillier wins Metro Player of the Year, leads all-Metro soccer
No single player enjoyed a more gratifying season than Sunset senior forward Julien Thuillier.
The scoring assassin entered the Apollo boys' soccer program with incredible speed, prodigious spatial intuition in the final third and the dribbling ability to make opponents look silly. As an underclassman, the hope was Thuillier could team with older stars such as Cole Rogers and Elijah White and form an unstoppable three-headed, then the two-headed monster of finishers that took Sunset to the state final.
Yet, Thuillier, through no fault of his own, couldn't beat the injury bug. His sophomore season was cut short due to physical affliction as was his junior campaign. Even coming into this year Thuillier didn't play a match for nearly five months after getting injured during the spring playing club ball. In fact, the Apollo forward's first game back didn't occur until the start of the high school season.
But once Thuillier was able to get right physically, it was over for the Metro League. Feeling confident in his body and playing at top form, the Apollo forward showed the conference what they'd been missing, lighting Metro ablaze with goals, assists and shot creations for others. He played in every Metro game and won the Metro Player of the Year as voted on by the league's coaches. What an honor, what a reversal for a player who wondered if he'd ever get to fully display his incredible ability. Thuillier made up for lost time, leading an inexperienced Apollo team to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. Sunset finished second in Metro with Thuillier leading the way. The forward was joined on the All-Metro first team by fellow Apollos Daniel Zuccari (midfielder) and senior defender Mason Norby.
"It's really hard to watch your team from the bench and not being able to help them out," Thuillier said. "(Winning MPOY) was really good news. I'm just really pleased with coming back and being able to play. I think I did a pretty good job in the Metro League and I'm glad the coaches thought so too."
The Apollos tied with league champion Jesuit for the most first-team All-Metro honorees. The Crusaders had senior defender Nathan Gewant, senior forward Remington Grayson and senior midfielder Truman Delaney. All three had played a leading role in helping Jesuit win the 2018 Class 6A state title a year ago and taking the Metro crown for the first time in years.
Mountainside senior goalie Anthony Lemus is the first All-Metro first-team member in school history. The Aloha transfer came to Mountainside three years ago and earned the starting keeper spot last season. Mountainside only won one Metro match and tied two of them, which speaks to the respect the conference's skippers had for Lemus' ability. Losses to Aloha, Jesuit and Sunset could have spiraled out of control if not for Lemus keeping the Mavericks afloat.
Mountainside head coach Tom Lathrop, a mainstay in Beaverton coaching circles after making Westview into a state power in the mid to late 2000s, won Metro Coach of the Year. Aloha sophomore midfielder Josue Dolores Lopez and Valentin Guerrero-Gutierrez made first-team All-Metro for the Warriors as did Beaverton senior midfielder Miguel Hernandez and Westview senior defender Ryan Pearson.
Jesuit earned three second-team All-Metro selections: junior midfielder Aidan Azavedo, senior defender Floor Van Hameren and senior goalie Nolan Gregg. Aloha, Beaverton and Mountainside each had two All-Metro honorees. Aloha junior defender Jesse De La Cruz Herrera and Aloha senior Genaro Espitia, Beaverton junior defender Keaton Klym, Beaverton sophomore Daniel Velazquez Escobar, Mountainside senior midfielder Peter Anderson, Maverick junior defender Trevor Hunt, Southridge senior midfielder Ricky Chavira-Escobar and Westview sophomore midfielder Gabriel Rincon each were second-team All-Metro.
Aloha senior defender Juan Hernandez Espinoza, Beaverton senior goalie Brendan McNear, Mountainside senior midfielder Cade Moore, junior defender Gabe Richard, sophomore Ryan Mehlschau, Southridge senior goalie Henry Boudreaux, Sunset seniors Ellis Harwood (midfielder) and Jacob McCulloch (defender) as well as Westview sophomore defender Saan Chang and Westview junior midfielder Max Lansing were honorable mention All-Metro.
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