Kasey French is only 16 years old, but the Timberline High School sophomore is soccer worldly.
He has played games in Canada, flown to England for a Chelsea FC camp and now he’s heading to Costa Rica to participate in a 10-day soccer event with members of his Seattle Sounders Academy.
French, in his first year with the Sounders Academy, was one of eight players selected to join eight Special Olympians from Washington to form Team USA in the inaugural Special Olympics Central America and Caribbean Unified Soccer Tournament in San Jose, Costa Rica.
The 10-day event, which begins Wednesday, features 11 countries from Central America, South America and the Caribbean, in addition to the United States.
When the opportunity arose through the Sounders organization, French, a center-midfielder, jumped on it. The challenges and new opportunities were appealing.
“I want to do new things,” said French, a member of The Olympian’s 2012 all-area boys soccer team as a freshman. “I want to go down there and have fun with it. Going outside the country is very special and it’s something you don’t get to do a lot.”
The group from Washington was spearheaded by former international soccer star and former Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller, a North Thurston High graduate.
“He was the one who pushed it to be Washington state that was representing the U.S.,” French said.
French’s team will play three games – against Honduras, Ecuador and Paraguay – in the event to help promote a message of acceptance and respect through sports.
“What an opportunity to grow as a person,” said Nancy French, the high school player’s mom.
CENTRALIA FOOTBALL PROMOTES WHITMIRE
Centralia promoted Matt Whitmire to head football coach, the school announced. Whitmire, a 1987 Tenino High graduate, served as an assistant coach under former head coach Steve Amrine, who accepted the head coaching job at Kelso. The Tigers had an 0-9 record in 2012.
Montesano hired former Capital boys coach Doug Galloway as its boys basketball coach. Galloway did not coach this past season after his coaching contract was not renewed by the Olympia School District in August after 10 seasons as the Cougars’ coach. The Bulldogs, a Class 1A program, went 12-11 in 2012-13. ... Olympia senior Brendan Leonard gave an oral commitment to play men’s basketball at the Air Force Academy this week.
This week marks the start of the spring postseason for several sports.
The 4A and 3A Narrows League baseball tournament continues today with the division title games at the RAC. Timberline (17-3), regular-season champion in 3A, faces North Thurston (16-5) at 4 p.m., followed by the 4A title game between Olympia (16-4), the 4A regular-season champion, and South Kitsap (15-4) at 6:30 p.m.
The 4A and 3A Narrows League girls tennis tournament continues today and Saturday at the Capitol City Tennis and Athletic Center. The 3A tournament begins at 8 a.m. The 4A tournament, which began Thursday, concludes at 8 a.m. Saturday followed by the 3As at 11 a.m. The opening round of the 2A Southwest District IV boys soccer tournament starts Saturday. The only game in Thurston County is Capital against Mark Morris, which starts at 7 p.m. at Ingersoll Stadium.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com @megwochnick