If it feels like Peninsula High senior midfielder Mason Haubrich has been around for a while, it’s because he has been. Haubrich has been on the Seahawks varsity soccer team all four years of his high school career, and earned all-league honors as early as his sophomore year.
He’s been good for quite some time. He hopes this year will be his best yet.
“It’s a little bittersweet,” Haubrich said. “I’m just trying to take it practice by practice and be the best I can be for my team. Just have the same mentality I’ve always had.”
This year, he’s more intense and focused than ever.
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“I just have a lot of confidence in my teammates,” Haubrich said. “I’ve learned a lot about high school soccer. I’ve learned a lot about my teammates, team bonding. I can really trust my teammates. I trust myself more. I’m used the competition at this level. I can be the best I can be because I know what to do.”
After getting banged up toward the end of his sophomore season, Peninsula coach Brad Scandrett felt Haubrich came out a little timid in his junior season. That hasn’t been the case early in his senior year.
“He’s always been fast, he’s always had good skill,” Scandrett said. “He’s always known the game well. I think the way he plays, he gets bodied up and pounded on a lot. Sophomore year, toward the end of the year, he got hurt. I think that affected him last year mentally. This year, he’s just come back. I think he’s more in tune with who he is, mentally and physically. He’s just more confident.”
That mental shift has been intentional by Haubrich.
“I want to go to every game with the same mentality, with no alterations,” Haubrich said. “I need to come to win and play for my team.”
Scandrett said he’s noticed the change in his intensity this season, which has translated into becoming a better-rounded team leader.
“He’s gotten better and better,” Scandrett said. “He’s really coming into his own, as far as leading. He always leads by how he plays. He’s more confident, sure of himself, and becoming more sure of who he is as a leader, which has been fun to watch. He’s a great kid. He’s super smart and he’s a great player. His role this year is just what it has been — to make everyone else great. He can do that.”
Haubrich has made those around him better since he stepped on campus, with his creative playmaking ability, which opens the field up for his teammates.
“His field vision, understanding of where people are and where to put the ball makes people play better,” Scandrett said.
And this year, Scandrett has helped Haubrich focus on picking his spots — when to take over, and when to facilitate.
“One of the things I keep trying to encourage him, is the way you make others better is by not just taking the ball and trying to dribble it through everyone,” Scandrett said. “I know he can. He’s capable of that. I don’t want to limit his creativity of taking guys on and any of that, but there’s a time and a place. I think he’s figuring out that balance. When he doesn’t do it, or does it at the right moments, it will make everyone around him better. I think the last few years, he’d hang onto the ball a little too long. This year, he’s getting the ball of his foot. I’ve told him, when you get the ball off your foot, you’ll get the ball back. You have to trust that if you do the right thing, it’ll come back.”
Haubrich said he fully expects this team to contend for the Class 3A South Sound Conference title this season.
“I’m really optimistic,” Haubrich said. “I’m more confident with this team than I’ve been the past four years. We have the best shot at a league title than we’ve ever had in the past four years.”
For Haubrich, it’s all about the team in his final season.
“I’m just trying to help the team as much as I can every single game,” Haubrich said. “I’m not playing for personal awards, accolades or anything like that. I’m playing for my team. I think our team, we expect ourselves to win the league this year.”