Actions speak louder than words, but sometimes words can set the stage for successful actions.
So it was a year ago that two key Olympia High School boys soccer players, captains Bryce Winkler and Jamison Corbin, met with coach Ty Johnson at a local coffee shop to talk over plans for the 2014 season. Corbin had skipped the 2013 high school season to play for the Crossfire Premier club team but was ready to return to the Bears his senior season.
“That conversation put our mind-set in the right place,” Corbin says. “We wanted to lead the program to a higher standard, to be the team we hadn’t been: A team that was serious about setting goals and working to reach them.”
A year later, the Bears finished off a strong run into the district playoffs, and Corbin, The Olympian’s All-Area Player of the Year, scored 10 goals and assisted on 10 more while sharing 4A Narrows League MVP honors.
“Jamison’s a leader both on and off the field,” Johnson said. “His work ethic sets the tone for the team, from the moment we start practice until the whistle blows.
“It’s why he’s gotten as far as he has.”
Conflicts between high school and club-team commitments have been a hot-button issue in recent years, but Corbin’s return to the Bears after a season away went smoothly, again because of what he brought to the team.
“It was all positive,” Johnson said. “Everyone was glad he was back because he makes everyone around him better. He reminds me a lot of the last player we had who was the all-area player of the year, Austin Kelly (who is now an Olympia assistant coach after playing for Saint Martin’s University).”
Corbin also said his transition back onto the squad was an easy one because he had known his teammates for years and watched many of the Bears’ games last season.
Once on the field, the senior midfielder’s skills became obvious.
“He’s technically one of the best players we’ve ever had. His touches are always at his feet,” said Johnson. “His vision is second to none; he sees the game unfolding so well. All the work he’s put in over the years is obvious when you watch him play.”
Corbin began playing soccer at age 4 because his father was a local coach. He kept playing when the family moved from Shelton to Laguna Niguel in Southern California for seven years, returning when Jamison was in sixth grade.
Corbin will play his college soccer at the University of Redlands, located along I-10 midway between Los Angeles and Palm Springs.
“I really wanted to get back to California,” he said. “Redlands got in touch after I played in a tournament in San Diego earlier this year. I like the coaches and everything about their program.”
Johnson believes the Bulldogs, coming off a 12-4 season in 2013-14 and winners of 11 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships over the years, will like everything about Corbin as well.
“Jamison is not about personal accolades and stats,” he said. “He’s all about what’s best for the team.”
THE OLYMPIAN’S ALL-AREA BOYS SOCCER TEAM
Position, Name, School, Year
Goalkeeper, Jakob Racimo, Capital, senior
2A Evergreen Conference’s defensive MVP was a strong presence in the goal box and anchored a Capital defense that allowed only 14 goals in 24 games on its way to the program’s best state finish in school history (second place).
Goalkeeper, Davin Johnson, Olympia, junior
Posted seven shutouts and allowed eight goals during 4A Narrows League play. A big reason why the Bears were in close games, coach Ty Johnson said.
Defender, Chris Sutton, Olympia, junior
A creative defender who kept the back line organized, helping the Bears to the 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament.
Defender, Jonathan McCullough, Shelton, junior
Few goals got past McCullough, a centerback, and the Highclimbers’ defense, allowing just seven all season.
Defender, Daniel Pailthorp, Capital, senior
Had a knack for being in the right place at the right time to steer balls from danger. Part of the Cougars’ back line that averaged .058 goals against.
Midfielder, Jamison Corbin, Olympia, senior
Returned from Sounders Academy team to help spark the Bears in final high school season. The Olympian’s All-Area Player of the Year and 4A Narrows co-MVP tallied 10 goals and 10 assists.
Midfielder, Francisco Mendiola-Lopez, Shelton, senior
One of the Highclimbers’ five players to reach double figures in goals (10), he also defended the midfield well in leading Shelton to one of its best seasons since 2001.
Midfielder, Kellen O’Neill, Capital, senior
A creative midfielder labeled as “an essential figure” to the Cougars’ attack by coach Andrew Lopez.
Forward, Casey Duff, Black Hills, junior
Often double- or triple-teamed, yet still one of the 2A EvCo’s most-feared strikers. He tallied 17 goals and three assists to lead Wolves to the 2A District IV tournament.
Forward, Nigel El-Sokkary, Capital, sophomore
Occupied the wide channel with blazing speed, the 2A EvCo’s offensive MVP led the Cougars’ offense with 21 goals and 18 assists.
Forward, Edgar Hermenegildo, Elma, senior
From hat tricks to game-winners, the 1A SWW Evergreen’s offensive MVP was a one-on-one burner.
Coach of the year: Andrew Lopez, Capital