To get the best out of Dalton Ogdon on the soccer field, Bonney Lake coach Luke Helling-Christy came up with a simple plan.
“ ‘Shoot until you score.’ Basically, he had rights to be completely selfish as long as that allowed him to stay engaged,” Helling-Christy said.
“A selfish Dalton, just trying to do it on his own, is much better than a lost Dalton, who just takes up space.”
Ogdon was exhilarating far more often than he was a space-consumer. The Bonney Lake midfielder is The News Tribune’s All-Area boys soccer player of the year after scoring seven goals and leading the Panthers back to the Class 3A state tournament this season after helping Bonney Lake win its first state title in any sport last year.
“He’s the most talented player I’ve ever coached,” Helling-Christy said. “I watch a lot of soccer – I think Dalton’s foot skills are better than anyone in Major League Soccer.”
Ogdon’s personal story is as rare as his foot skills. An appeal to Washington Interscholastic Activities Association allowed Ogdon to play this season despite being in his fifth year of high school.
Ogdon was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and attention hyperactivity disorder in the fifth grade. He struggled with grades and frequently skipped classes as a freshman before attending Collins, an alternative school in Buckley, for a year and half.
“All freshman year, I really didn’t do anything,” Ogdon said. “I was falling behind in my classes
and I wasn’t one to ask for help. I didn’t want to say, ‘Hey, teacher,’ because I didn’t want people to think, ‘Oh, he’s stupid, he doesn’t know simple answers to things.’
“I was a quiet kid in the back. It was tough going to school because I would just sit there.”
A serious talk with his father, Joe – who already watched Ogdon’s older brother, Joel drop out of high school – got his attention.
“I know how much (Joel dropping out) upset my dad,” said Ogdon, whose parents are divorced. “He came to me and said, ‘If you want to get a good job, you have to have a high-school education.’ I wanted to pass not only for myself, but I wanted to make my dad proud.”
Ogdon went back to Bonney Lake in 2012 with a renewed dedication to school.
He said he hunkered down and continually reminded himself how important his success in school was. He attended class every day and said he did whatever was needed to pass and have the grades required to play soccer.
Panthers teammate Jonah Phillips hadn’t seen Ogdon play soccer since middle school but was impressed at his skills.
“Obviously, we didn’t know what to expect,” Phillips said. “But he was good from the start. It didn’t look like he had taken a day off.”
Last season, Ogdon helped Bonney Lake roll through an undefeated South Puget Sound regular season before the Panthers met Lakeside at state. Ogdon scored on a rebound in the 75th minute to lift Bonney Lake to a 1-0 win – the school’s first state victory in the sport.
Three wins later, the Panthers were state champions and Ogdon was a first-team Class 3A all-state selection.
This season, the Panthers again swept through the SPSL regular season undefeated but lost to Ingraham, 2-1, in the first round of state tournament.
Ogdon said he doesn’t know if he will play next season. If he does, he said it would be at a community college.
He wants to someday work for Boeing or become a professional welder, which Helling-Christy said he has shown more and more interest in at the Pierce County Skills Center. Ogdon gets specialized training there through Sumner School District’s alternative program.
“Before the season, I wasn’t planning on even going to college. School just isn’t my thing,” Ogdon said.
But Helling-Christy said he believes it’s just what Ogdon needs.
“For a kid who basically dropped out and had no interest in school whatsoever, to a kid who matured and came back from purgatory to having the potential to have an associate degree paid for – that would be awesome,” Helling-Christy said.
“I think that is something that would propel him through life if we can just get him there.”
Getting that kind of focus from Ogdon was also an issue in soccer. Helling-Christy said Ogdon is inspired by singer Marvin Gaye, so he tries to exhibit a silky smooth style. Sometimes, it takes a while to find the rhythm.
“He just loves to make people look silly,” Helling-Christy said. “That’s what he gets off on, that’s his thing – just being smooth and dancing out there with the soccer ball. I don’t even think he cares about scoring goals, even though he scored a lot of them.”
When he can’t be so smooth – when he’s double-teamed or marked – that’s when Ogdon disappears. Ogdon said he knows that frustrated his coach, but Helling-Christy told him to focus on clearing his head, relaxing and having fun.
“When he talked about that, I wiped my head clear and told myself, ‘I do this because I enjoy it and because it’s fun for me, so I’m going to go out there and enjoy it.’ That helped a lot.” Ogdon said.
“I don’t want to sound cocky, but when I’m on point, I’m pretty on point.”
Helling-Christy can attest to that.
“I found myself on the bench a lot of times just really enjoying watching him play,” Helling-Christy said. “Not really knowing what would happen – but just a treat to watch.
“I don’t know if we will ever see a Dalton Ogdon again.”
THE NEWS TRIBUNE’S ALL-AREA BOYS SOCCER TEAM
ForwardEdwin Brown Gig Harborjr.
Tides’ most dangerous threat has off-the-chart foot skills; all-Narrows 4A striker led league champions with 11 goals.
He usually camps on the wide side, gets a pass and goes. Booming leg netted 21 goals and EvCo offensive player of year nod.
In the Vikings’ system, he works the wide channels and has the blazing speed to get by anybody. All-SPSL South pick (10 goals).
This big, menacing striker registered back-to-back 20-goal seasons (21 goals, 13 assists in 2014). Finished career with 51 goals.
A one-on-one burner, the SPSL 2A MVP tallied 25 goals, and scored a hat trick in the district playoffs.
Reliable playmaker in clutch time — four of the all-SPSL North performer’s 12 goals were game-winners. Also a football star.
Returned from Sounders Academy to spark Bears’ turnaround (10 goals, 10 assists); Narrows 4A co-MVP headed to Redlands.
Very powerful. When he strikes a soccer ball, it goes. Led SPSL South midfielders with 11 goals, and will play at Saint Martin’s.
There were many skilled Ramos cousins playing city soccer this season; co-Narrows 4A MVP had the best (14 goals, 6 assists).
MidfielderAung TaTodd Beamersr.
As creative and skilled a playmaker as any in the area, he had the biggest target on his back in the SPSL South (9 goals, 13 assists).
DefenderGarrett BrewerFederal Waysr.
Big, powerful and menacing, he not only anchored the Eagles’ backfield, he also put it in the back of the net (12 goals).
DefenderTyler JohnBonney Lakesr.
Led the SPSL 3A in scoring (14 goals, 9 assists), yet was league’s defensive player of the year. Intense competitor wherever he has played.
A rare combination of finesse and grit, he locked down the middle of the field — from goal to center circle (3 goals).
The Rams’ four-year starter had his best season (12 shutouts; 38 total for career). Will attend UW and work at Sounders Academy.
Player of the year: Dalton Ogdon, midfielder, Bonney Lake, sr.
Coach of the year: Aaron Radford, Kentwood
ForwardNick Iregui, Charles Wright Academy, fr.
ForwardEddie Na, Curtis, sr.
ForwardJose Fernando Sanchez, Federal Way, jr.
MidfielderDrew Barker, Bellarmine Prep, sr.
MidfielderEdgar “Pee Wee” Garcia, Fife, sr.
MidfielderOswald Ramos, Wilson, jr.
DefenderJoey Alonzo, Kentwood, sr.
DefenderScott Scheerer, Wilson, sr.
GoalkeeperMatt Stephens, Gig Harbor, sr.TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org