Pressure is moving halfway around the world and trying to fit in, which is something Briskans Shibale knows about firsthand.
Scoring goals? It was always easy for him, until the beginning of his senior year at Mount Rainier.
Shibale, who moved with his family from Kenya to the Northwest when he was 6 years old, has already established his reputation as a clutch scorer. But when the goals didn’t come, he pressed.
Finally, he scored in the 80th minute against Tahoma to upend the team that reached the 4A state title game last year, 2-1. Then Shibale scored a hat trick in a 3-0 victory over Kennedy Catholic and then the lone goal in a 1-0 win against Hazen.
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That highlighted a run in which Shibale scored 10 goals in seven matches.
“He’s scored a couple big goals for us,” Rams coach Steve Mohn said. “He takes the pressure pretty well and tends to deliver in those aspects of the game.”
Shibale’s talent has been evident since cracking the varsity roster as a freshman reserve.
As a sophomore, he scored nine goals. Last year, he had 11, including two game-winning goals in last season’s district playoffs. The biggest was an overtime strike against Curtis to send the Rams to the state tournament for the second consecutive year.
“It was a great feeling,” Shibale said about his goal against Curtis. “It sent us to state. That’s where we wanted to be since the beginning of the year, so I was really happy when I got that goal.”
He also scored the only goal of Mount Rainier’s loser-out match against Stadium.
He credits learning the game from his brother Eddy, who is 13 years older than Briskans (pronounced Brisk-ahns). He said Eddy attends most of Mount Rainier’s matches and offers pointers about how to improve.
“He gives me a lot of constructive criticism after we win or lose games,” Shibale said. “Sometimes I try to argue with him, and sometimes I get where he’s coming from.”
Shibale said his family decided to leave Kenya to seek a fresh opportunity over a decade ago. He has just vague memories of living there. He said relatives in the Seattle area helped make a difficult transition easier but it was stressful leaving family, especially his grandparents, behind.
“I remember it being tough,” Shibale said. “But I knew it wouldn’t be the last time I would see them.”
Shibale is exploring his options for college, including continuing to play for Mohn, who also is the men’s soccer coach at Highline College in Des Moines.
“If he does decide to come play for me at Highline, I’ll be more than happy to have him on my team.” Mohn said. “If he goes elsewhere, I’m sure he’ll be very successful.”
“That is something I am looking at,” Shibale said. “I love playing for Steve. I’ve always had a good experience with him. He’s helped develop both my game and me as person.”
Christian Bond: 253-597-8680