Talented player linked to Boxers through club team

by: GREG ARTMAN - Nick Pinto, a four-year starter on the Wilsonville boys soccer team, plans to continue his athletic career at Pacific University in Forest Grove.Nick Pinto likes to think of soccer as an art form. He tries to envision a sequence before it develops, enjoys the free-flowing nature of the game and can craft delicate strokes from seemingly impossible angles.

“You can kind of express yourself with the ball,” he said.

Pinto, a recent graduate of Wilsonville High School, is excited to work on an entirely new canvas at Pacific University in Forest Grove. He plans to report to the men’s soccer team’s training camp in mid-August.

The talented forward and midfielder figures to add speed, skill and smarts to a program that competes in Division III as a member of the Northwest Conference. The Boxers struggled this past season, going 5-14 overall and 3-11 in league play.

Pinto’s decision to attend Pacific speaks volumes about the relationships he’s formed and strengthened through soccer over the years.

When the 5-foot-9, 150-pound athlete wasn’t playing on the high school varsity team, he was honing his skills in the Oswego Southside Soccer Academy. He trained under the tutelage of club coach Stewart Boniface, a former player in the United Kingdom. Boniface has a close friendship with Boxers coach Jim Brazeau.

“There was a connection there,” Pinto said. “When Jim came out to see one of our games in Washington, he talked to me and it seemed like a good fit.”

Pinto was reassured on ensuing visits to the Pacific campus, where he and Brazeau revisited their earlier discussions.

“He seemed like a really nice guy, and he really said the right things,” said Pinto, who plans to major in business administration. “His philosophy on coaching and me playing really fit together. That was a big factor.”

Pinto began his journey to the collegiate ranks when he was 5 years old, playing on a variety of youth teams coached by his father Dean.

Indeed, soccer has played a monumental role in his family’s life. His older sister Linnea played at the varsity level. His youngerby: GREG ARTMAN - Nick Pinto (center), shown with his parents, shares a love of soccer with his family. His older sister Linnea and younger brother Collin have both played the sport, and his father Dean is an area youth coach. brother Collin plays in the youth ranks and also has his father as a coach. At Pinto’s high school soccer games, his father could be heard over the loudspeakers as an announcer.

“It always ran in the family,” Pinto said. “Everyone has played soccer at some level.”

Varsity was Pinto’s only level at Wilsonville, where he played under coach Ian Reschke. He was a four-year starter for the Wildcats, earning all-conference honorable mention as a freshman, second-team recognition as a junior and first-team acknowledgement this past season.

Pinto scored eight goals and had 10 assists in his final campaign at Wilsonville, which compiled a 34-22-10 record and four-straight appearances in the state playoffs during his prep career.

“Reschke really helped me develop as a player and a young man,” Pinto said. “I came in there as a freshman, and no one really expected me to make the team, but he guided me up through the years.”

Pinto will likely be reminded of those years in college, as several Northwest Conference rosters include his former high school and club teammates. Among them is George Fox midfielder Myles Sorokovsky, who graduated from Wilsonville in 2011. He might also find Wildcats alumnus Achmat Jappie on the team at Linfield.

But those possible matchups are merely bonuses for Pinto, who has visualized a career in the collegiate ranks for many years.

“It’s just been always on my mind,” he said. “It’s been my dream and aspiration to make it to the next level and continue with soccer wherever it leads me.”

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