Archive for the ‘Boys Soccer’ Category

Aram Leyva joins big bro Abraham and cousin Derek in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Same family, different playing styles, similar results.

Cousins Aram and Derek Leyva followed a trail of success blazed by Aram’s big brother, Abraham, but will be remembered for what they personally accomplished.

The duo were as talented as any soccer players ever to wear the red and black for Coupeville High School, and only a pandemic shutting down state schools could slow them down on the pitch.

Derek, who tallied 38 goals in just two seasons at CHS, finishes as the #2 scorer in Wolf boys soccer history, denied a senior season in which he likely would have passed Abraham, who hit the back of the net 45 times between 2014-2016.

While he might not have the career record, Derek does hold the CHS boys single-season mark, having made rival goalies look silly while recording 24 goals during his sophomore season.

No slouch himself, Aram rang up 29 goals of his own across three seasons, before he too lost his senior campaign to the pandemic.

Derek Leyva owns the Wolf boys soccer single-season scoring record.

On the pitch, Derek was a burst of silky lightning, often flying past defenders, then snapping their ankles with quick cut-backs, all while flicking the ball along like he was operating a yo-yo.

Let’s face it – I’m not a soccer expert.

I don’t always understand the subtle nuances of the beautiful game, or always properly appreciate the sport, but that didn’t stop me from responding to most of his eye-popping plays with a long, slow “Damn … Derek!”

And he wasn’t just a star on the pitch, returning to the same field to captivate people with his play on the football gridiron as well.

We knew Derek had a leg capable of launching the ball, regardless of the sport, so seeing him make his debut as a kicker felt right.

But, surprise!

He also had other skills, whether as a receiver on offense or operating as a defensive back, and it would have been nice to see him get more than the handful of games he ultimately played.

One game, or a series of them, didn’t matter, however.

Derek is that rare Coupeville athlete who operates on a higher plain, and we should appreciate whatever exploits we were allowed to enjoy.

Derek Leyva, on his way to ringing up another goal.

Same with Aram, who was a rough ‘n tumble dude while in action, in the best way possible.

Early on, he competed in track and field, and messed people up on the basketball court, but it was soccer, the family sport, where his star shone brightest.

Aram has a light touch with the ball, and can flick shots into the corner of the net, an inch away from a madly-scrambling goalie, just like his brother and cousin.

But he can also — and this is my favorite part of his game — run right over multiple defenders, carving a path of destruction as he rumbles to pay dirt.

Every time Aram took the pitch, the Wolf captain seemed to seek out contact, the harder the better.

The first time he backs down from a rival team, regardless of what pampered private school they hail from, well … that will be the first time, cause it never happened during his CHS days.

There’s a photo of Aram from back in his youth league days, and in it, he’s flinging two defenders airborne as he bulls his way to the ball, an unstoppable force of fury who happens to be smiling as he makes the turf rumble.

It’s kind of beautiful.

Aram Leyva, a pitch powerhouse.

It would have been great for the Leyva lads to get one more go-round in CHS uniforms this spring, Derek’s silky speed and Aram’s bone-crunching fury meshing together to decimate anyone stupid enough to stand in their way.

It didn’t happen, which is too bad, but a lost season does nothing to detract from the legacy they leave behind.

Future Wolf soccer players, both those who played alongside them, and those who will arrive in years to come, should aim to play like the duo. That is the route to success.

For today, we honor what they accomplished by inducting them into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, where they’ll join Abraham.

After this, take a gander at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, and you’ll find all three Leyva men right where they belong.

They earned enshrinement with every eye-popping goal, every perfectly-placed pass, every brilliant play, every rugged display of “this is my frickin’ pitch, and YOU need to move!”

The gold standard for CHS soccer? Without a doubt.

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Coupeville High School will honor spring athletes such as Raven Vick (left) and Megan Behan next week. (Brian Vick photo)

Coupeville High School will award letters to many of its spring athletes, even though the COVID-19 pandemic erased the season.

That was the word Wednesday from Wolf Athletic Director Willie Smith, as he laid out a plan to honor those who would have been playing.

All seniors, and all returning underclassmen letter winners will letter, while all other CHS athletes will receive certificates of participation.

“Our coaches, whom I believe have huge hearts for kids, had a very good discussion about how we can honor our spring athletes as well as honor our goals of making lettering mean something,” Smith said.

The decision was made after reviewing what other schools and districts were doing to address the situation.

“Our logic behind this decision was to honor our seniors because they, of all the athletes participating, lost the most with the cancellation of the spring season,” Smith said.

“We didn’t feel it minimized the lettering process but did reward our seniors for something that was out of all our control and was the least we could do to help alleviate at least a small part of the disappointment.

“Secondly, rather than have our coaches try to determine who would or wouldn’t letter this year, we felt using last year as a barometer for lettering our underclassman was the most fair way to do this.

“We understand there is no perfect way to do this but we felt that we could honor our athletes this way, give our seniors a little positive out of all of this, and also allow those that lettered last year to be able to do it this year.

“Again, not perfect, not ideal, but we felt it was right for our kids and programs.”

Smith has set up a schedule for May 26-29 for athletes to come to the CHS gym lobby to return uniforms, pick up team pictures, and receive their letters or certificates.


Girls Tennis — Tuesday, May 26 @ 2:00
Boys Soccer — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Track and Field — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Softball — Thursday, May 28 @ 3:00
Baseball — Friday, May 29 @ 1:00


If athletes or parents have questions, they’re asked to contact their head coaches:

Baseball — Chris Smith — csmith@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Boys Soccer — Kyle Nelson — knelson@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Girls Tennis — Ken Stange — kstange@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Softball — Kevin McGranahan — kmcgranahan@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Track and Field — Randy King — rking@coupeville.k12.wa.us

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Derek Leyva was set to make a run at the CHS soccer career scoring record before the COVID-19 pandemic erased the season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Abraham Leyva keeps his Coupeville High School soccer career scoring record.

That was in doubt until the COVID-19 pandemic erased spring sports before any games could be played.

Denied their senior seasons, Abraham’s cousin Derek (38 goals) and younger brother Aram (29) won’t catch the first Leyva, who hit the back of the net 45 times in three seasons.

As we contemplate a lost season, a look at the players and coaches who were primed to make a run on the pitch this spring.

The 2020 edition of Wolf soccer would have featured …


Aiden Anderson
Owen Barenburg
Aiden Burdge
Chris Cernick
Miles Davidson
Sage Downes
Dakota Eck
Brandon Epp
Tony Garcia
Zach Ginnings
Daylon Houston
Alex Jimenez
Michael Langille
Michael Laska
Alberto Leyva
Aram Leyva
Derek Leyva
Jonathan Partida
Kevin Partida
Grant Steller
Mitchell Summers
Hunter Wilkinson
James Wood
Tate Wyman
Sam Wynn

Kyle Nelson (Head Coach)
Michael Barenburg (Assistant Coach)
Reese Cernick (Assistant Coach)
Robert Wood (Assistant Coach)

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Owen Barenburg (13) and other Coupeville High School boys soccer players will play in the fall, and not the spring, starting next school year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

OK, now stay with me on this.

With Coupeville High School slated to drop from 1A to 2B next school year, the Wolves will bounce from the 1A North Sound Conference to the Northwest 2B/1B League in the fall.

The change in classifications and league will offer new challenges to every CHS sports program, but boys soccer will likely face the biggest upheaval.

The Wolf booters are currently sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic, waiting to see if they will play a compressed spring schedule in May, or if Washington state schools (and prep sports) will be shut down for good until fall.

Of course, a return in fall is still, like everything else in the world, a maybe.

But keeping a positive outlook, if things are back up and going then, Coupeville’s boys soccer program will make the jump not only from one league and classification to another, but one season to another.

While 1A boys soccer is played in the spring, 2B schools play the sport in the fall, sharing field space with girls soccer and football.

Coupeville’s soccer programs share a head coach in Kyle Nelson. With one team in the fall and another in the spring, that’s worked fine.

Whether he would try and balance both jobs in the same season, or if a new coach will be hired for one of the teams, is unknown at this point.

What’s also unknown is how the jump will affect the roster, as the move will give CHS four boys sports in the fall, with soccer competing against football, tennis, and cross country for athletes.

When they do hit the field, the Wolf boys will have a new set of league foes, and the lineup won’t look exactly like the one most other CHS squads will face.

Five of the eight Northwest League teams — 2B schools La Conner, Friday Harbor, and Coupeville, and 1B schools Mount Vernon Christian and Orcas Island — have active boys soccer program.

That leaves Concrete, Darrington, and, apparently, Chimacum, on the sideline.

To fill the gap, the NWL schools pick up four schools from the 1B Northwest League (similar name, different conference) to make a patchwork nine-team boys soccer league.

Having six of nine teams be 1B is not that big of a deal, though, since 2B and 1B are compressed together when it comes to the state tournament.

The 1B schools from the outlying league are Lopez, Grace Academy from Marysville, Providence Classical Christian from Bothell, and Cedar Park Christian-Mountlake Terrace.

While it’s part of a group of affiliated private schools, CPC-MTL is not the same as CPC-Bothell, which has been one of Coupeville’s rivals in the North Sound Conference.

So, who’s the team(s) to beat?

Based on last season, it’s Orcas Island, which won its second-straight league crown, and league runner-up Friday Harbor. Both teams fell in the first round at state in fall 2019.

But don’t count out Providence, which captured the conference title in 2017.

Or Mount Vernon Christian, which won five-straight titles between 2012-2016, with 2012 being the farthest back the NWL web site has records.

The MVC Hurricanes finished in the top two every year between 2012 and 2018, until “crashing” to a 6-6 mark last fall.

So, while realizing there still might be tweaks between now and September, an early look at what could play out in the fall:


2020 CHS boys soccer schedule (Fall)
(* = league game):

Tues-Sept. 8 — Friday Harbor (6:00) *
Thur-Sept. 10 — @Providence Classical Christian (3:30) *
Fri-Sept. 11 — La Conner (6:00) *
Tues-Sept. 15 — Mount Vernon Christian (6:00) *
Fri-Sept. 18 — @Orcas Island (3:00) *
Tues-Sept. 22 — Cedar Park Christian-MLT (6:00) *
Mon-Sept. 28 — Grace Academy (6:00) *
Wed-Sept. 30 — Lopez (6:00) *
Tues-Oct. 6 — @Friday Harbor (4:30) *
Fri-Oct. 9 — @La Conner (4:00) *
Mon-Oct. 12 — @Mount Vernon Christian (4:00) *
Wed-Oct. 14 — Orcas Island (6:00) *
Fri-Oct. 16 — @Cedar Park Christian-MTL (4:15) *
Tues-Oct. 20 — Providence Classical Christian (6:00) *
Fri-Oct. 23 — @Grace Academy (3:30) *
Tues-Oct. 27 — @Lopez (3:00) *

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If Coupeville track stars like Raven Vick (left) and Ja’Tarya Hoskins get the chance to compete this spring, they will face a shortened season. (Brian Vick photo)

If there is a spring high school sports season, teams can play shortened games in an effort to complete as much of the schedule as possible in a very short time.

That recommendation was offered Wednesday by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Currently, all schools in the state are shut down through April 24 on the orders of Governor Jay Inslee, as the fight to blunt the spread of coronavirus continues.

If students return to school at the end of the six-week shutdown, with the first classes April 27, they will have to put in 10 practices and then can begin games.

The WIAA previously announced it would offer a waiver, allowing schools to conduct 10 practices in five days time.

It also stated state championships will not be played later than Saturday, May 30, so as not to conflict with graduations in June.

That means if the six-week shutdown is lengthened at all, spring sports could be in jeopardy.

If Washington goes the route of states such as Kansas and cancels classes through the end of the 2019-2020 school year, there would definitely be no spring athletic season.

But, under a best-case scenario, with schools reopening April 27, games could begin as early as May 2.

The WIAA has directed each league and district to determine its own means of qualifying teams for the postseason, and has said it will allow teams which are not in the playoffs to continue regular season games through May 30.

While it’s highly-doubtful schools could play, say, an entire 20-game baseball season in four weeks time, shortened games and multiple contests on the same day will be allowed.

WIAA guidelines for each sport Coupeville High School plays:



*Pitch count, which is a daily limit and not a game limit, will still be enforced.

“Care should be taken to insure that pitchers are not exceeding their arm strength and conditioning during this shortened season,” the WIAA said. “Coaches have an obligation to take care of their pitchers.”

*Teams will be allowed to play shortened games, with five innings being a complete game.

*May 19 is the final day for teams to qualify for regionals, with state championships May 29-30.


Boys Soccer:

*Teams will be allowed to play shortened games, with one half of play constituting a complete game.

*May 19 is the final day for teams to qualify for state. The tourney will be played May 23, 26, 29, and 30.


Girls Tennis:

*Athletes will be allowed to play multiple matches in the same day, but can not exceed nine sets per day.

*May 24 is the final day for individuals to qualify for state.



*Teams will be allowed to play shortened games, with five innings constituting a complete game.

*May 24 is the final day for teams to qualify for state.


Track and Field:

*If an athlete competes on their own at an invitational during the shut down, their marks don’t count toward automatic qualifying standards for state. These standards must be met during school-sponsored meets.

*Athletes will still be restricted to competing in a maximum of four events during school-sponsored meets.

*May 24 is the final day for qualifier meets, with the state meet set for May 28-30.

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