North Clackamas County high school soccer: Top stars to watch in 2022
Soccer season has already gotten under way, but it's never too late to get familiar with the best and brightest from around the area.
Teams in north Clackamas County were great on the pitch last year. This area boasts defending state champions (La Salle Prep boys, Wilsonville girls), state runners-up (West Linn boys, La Salle Prep girls) and state semifinalists (Gladstone girls), along with those eliminated in the quarterfinals by the slimmest of margins (Lake Oswego girls, Oregon City girls).
Of course, it's a new year — which means the slate is clean for everyone to make a run at the state title in 2022. To give an idea of which players could lead their teams to glory this fall, here is our list of the top players to watch from each team in our north Clackamas County coverage zone.
CLACKAMAS CAVALIERS (6A)
As new head coach Grant Bateman enters his first season, he does so with a returning All-Mt. Hood Conference First Team selection in Ripley. After being eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs last season, Ripley looks to lead the Cavaliers' charge even further this season.
Clackamas head coach Gary Maass expects Goss, a four-year starter with the Cavaliers, to finish off her career with a bang — especially in the wake of graduating 12 seniors last spring. "She's a phenomenal leader," said Maass, "and will be one of our main scoring options on offense."
LAKE OSWEGO LAKERS (6A)
There were a few good choices among the Lakers, but Robertson — one of two senior captains along with central defender Luc Scipio del Campo — stands out for his versatility to play both defense and midfield. "Adam is a natural leader," said longtime head coach Fraser Morrison.
It was just as hard to land on one player from the girls team, too. Ko is one of six seniors on the Lakers this year, and she joins fellow All-Three Rivers League First Team selection Natalie Redpath as a captain. Head coach Foday Kabba looks forward to his seniors setting a strong example.
LAKERIDGE PACERS (6A)
Levin returns for his senior season as one of the top forwards in the Three Rivers League. He was voted to the all-league first team as a junior and was the only non-senior to make the cut. Levin helped the Pacers to the state quarterfinals in 2021, where they fell to state champ Summit.
Bachmann was a second-team all-league defender last season, and she will join up again with fellow senior Julia Mindt to form the heart of the Lakeridge team. "[They are] our team's center back pairing and captains," said head coach Nick Lewis of his two four-year starters.
NELSON HAWKS (6A)
For a Nelson team that won just a single game last season, there's nowhere to go but up. Helping them get there will be Kato, the team's lone representative on the 2021 All-Mt. Hood Conference teams. The rising senior was selected as an honorable mention by the league's coaches.
McArthur was one of two non-seniors from Nelson to make the all-conference team last year, but the other (Mairin Kelly) transferred to Lake Oswego. Nevertheless, the Hawks' senior goalkeeper should be one of the top returning net-minders in the Mt. Hood Conference in 2022.
OREGON CITY PIONEERS (6A)
Blackwell returns as one of the most important players for head coach Zachary Myque Obiero, who returns to the Oregon City sidelines after previously coaching the team for 10 years. As for Blackwell, the All-TRL honorable mention will provide stability and continuity for the Pioneers.
Bariao-Arce was the highest-rated freshman in the Three Rivers League last year, making the all-league second team after a solid debut in Oregon City. The Pioneers will be counting on her, along with senior Mia Spellman, to help get back to state after making the quarterfinals in 2021.
WEST LINN LIONS (6A)
Of the 10 players to make the All-Three Rivers League cut last year, only Valdes returns. He was part of a West Linn defense that tied for third-best in Class 6A with just 11 goals allowed in 2021. The Lions made it to the state championship game last year under longtime coach Steve Ancheta.
Schmidt is the lone returning all-leaguer on the girls' side for the Lions, making the All-Three Rivers League Second Team as a junior. Now back in the fold for her final season, Schmidt will try to guide West Linn further than last year's first-round exit from the state playoffs.
LA SALLE PREP FALCONS (5A)
Strange was a key cog of La Salle's second-consecutive state championship team last year. He was also a freshman on the varsity squad that won it all in 2020 (his older brother Luke was a captain). Strange is one of four returning All-NWOC selections for the Falcons this season.
After scoring both of La Salle Prep's goals in the state championship loss to league rival Wilsonville, Warta returns as one of the most dangerous players in the league. She scored 32 goals for the Falcons in 2021, so the All-NWOC First Team selection is a must-watch player in 2022.
MILWAUKIE MUSTANGS (5A)
The Milwaukie boys soccer program did not field a varsity team last season, but the Mustangs are back and looking for success in 2022. One of the most important positions on the field is goalkeeper, and the senior Cedarleaf already pitched a shutout in the team's season-opening win.
The Mustangs had a rough ride in 2021, winning just one game, but the results could have been far more dire if not for the solid play of Davis. The rising sophomore was the only freshman goalkeeper to make the All-NWOC team, and she will continue to play a vital role for Milwaukie.
PUTNAM KINGSMEN (5A)
After making the All-NWOC First Team as a forward last season — the only non-senior among the three attackers chosen — Mallett is back to lead the Kingsmen's charge in his final year. Putnam made it to the state playoffs last year, and they'll look to go even further in 2022.
Under the tutelage of Putnam head coach (and Portland Thorns goalkeeper) Bella Bixby, Patlan was named to the All-NWOC First Team and All-State Second Team in 2021. Bixby didn't mince words about Patlan's skills, calling the rising junior "the best goalkeeper in NWOC."
WILSONVILLE WILDCATS (5A)
An all-league midfielder for one of the best teams in the state last year, Little leads a veteran group of Wildcats trying to finish the season with a state title. Head coach Ian Reschke said of Little, "[He is] highly motivated to lead the team with his experience" as a senior.
Whittaker is coming off an exceptional sophomore season in which she scored 18 goals and recorded 17 assists for the Wildcats. That performance earned her a first-team All-NWOC nod, as well as a spot on the All-State Second Team, after helping the Wildcats win a state title.
GLADSTONE GLADIATORS (4A)
Gladstone head coach Ryan Hardwick won't have to worry much about his last line of defense, as Gonzolez is the reigning Goalkeeper of the Year in the Tri-Valley Conference. "Last year, Asher recorded 123 saves across 15 games," Hardwick noted of his senior goalie.
The reigning Player of the Year in the Tri-Valley Conference, McNett is the brightest star on a Gladstone team that is full of them. The Gladiators were selected as the No. 1 team in Class 4A in the OSAA preseason coaches' poll, putting them on the inside track to a state title.
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