Chase Tovey quit playing club soccer a few years. The year-round time commitment and long hours had become too cumbersome for Gig Harbor High’s talented junior forward.
“High school soccer is just the right amount,” Tovey said. “For me, it was just a little much. I love the game but with club, everything was too much. I didn’t have time to do anything else.”
Yet, Tovey is still one of the best players on the team. He perhaps serves as an example to others: Balance in life has value.
I don’t think the kids really need to spend all these thousands of dollars to go play on club and sacrifice their lives, weekends and family holidays all the time. You can get better on your own.
Todd Northstrom, Gig Harbor soccer coach
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“If you want to (play club), you want to,” said Gig Harbor coach Todd Northstrom. “I don’t think the kids really need to spend all these thousands of dollars to go play on club and sacrifice their lives, weekends and family holidays all the time. You can get better on your own. But you have to be disciplined, without somebody telling you what to do. But Chase also had a pretty strong skillset, anyway. Those clubs wanted him to play. He just made the choice not to.”
Tovey said the only real challenge of not playing for a club team is getting fit for soccer season.
“I have to (get in shape on my own),” Tovey said. “I might have a slow start while other people come straight from their club teams. I don’t think I lose skill, but maybe just fitness.”
Tovey’s slow start, if it did exist, was emblematic of the Tides’ attack all season — it’s been a work in progress. But with Tovey and junior teammate Shawn Kimble, who’s leading the team in goals at six, it’s coming together.
We’ve been putting on a lot of pressure, possessing it more and playing with more intensity.
Shawn Kimble, Gig Harbor junior forward
“It’s definitely way better than it has been,” Kimble said. “We’ve been putting on a lot of pressure, possessing it more and playing with more intensity.”
Kimble and Tovey are similar players who led the Tides to a 8-3-1 record in the Narrows 4A. What they lack in height, they make up for with physicality and fire. Kimble may have gotten some of that from playing football (he’s a slot receiver for the Tides).
“We’re aggressive and we challenge,” Kimble said.
And they’re both only juniors. Northstrom said early in the year, they put too much pressure on themselves to carry the team and often dribbled too much. But their connection is growing.
“They’re starting to learn that balance to let the game come to you,” Northstrom said. “It’s easy to say but I think that’s where they’re maturing this year. They have speed, aggressiveness — they’re both kind of fiery characters. They’re just like two peas in a pod out there. To have two complimentary players, that’s good.”
Kimble and Tovey, who has five goals this season, hope they can take their increased chemistry and carry it into next season as seniors.
“I think we can just work on our connections, finding each other more, being able to trust each other more,” Kimble said.
Maybe the attack is coming together just in time for the postseason.
“If that’s our peaking right now, that’s a good thing,” Northstrom said. “I’m optimistic, way more than I was three weeks ago. That’s a testament to these guys.”