Puyallup: Sports

Rogers High soccer builds on new philosophy, hopes to match prowess of Puyallup, Curtis programs

Captain Haleigh Thompson is one of a handful of Rogers’ returning starters looking to lead the change in philosophy to help the Rams going forward.
Captain Haleigh Thompson is one of a handful of Rogers’ returning starters looking to lead the change in philosophy to help the Rams going forward. Staff writer

It’s a fresh start this season for the Rogers High girls soccer team as the Rams have taken on a new team philosophy in order to build a program to match the top teams in the league.

With years of Curtis and Puyallup high schools maintaining top-dog status in the Class 4A South Puget Sound League South Division, Rogers coach J.R. Farias sought to help the Rams capture a piece of those teams’ mystique.

“What a program like Puyallup has is that those kids buy into the team,” Farias said. “When they suit up for them, it’s about representing the team. It’s about Puyallup for them.”

It’s about buying into a school and program — a philosophy of one-team, driven home by Vikings coach Matt White over the years.

Each year since Farias took over as the girls varsity coach, he has seen his Rams team climb toward that level of play, but a hodgepodge of senior players mixed into the Rams youth often caused chaos on the field.

If Rogers can establish that mindset — a team of one — then the future of the program looks to be bright.

“If they buy into the Rogers program like (Curtis and Puyallup) do at those schools, then we can build something good here,” Farias added. “Our goal is to be mentioned along with those schools as the top of the league.”

To get to that place, Farias implemented his plan from the ground up.

Sprinkling the seeds

There are two ways Farias describes his team. One of which is a Rams team capable of securing one of the four playoff spots out of the South Division.

And the other — well, it’s more of the description of that baby lamb that needed shepherding to the stables.

“We made most of our mistakes last year when they didn’t play together,” Farias said. “It’s difficult as a coach in getting the seniors to buy into your philosophy … so to do that here, we wanted to establish that way with our (junior varsity).”

In basic, implant the mindset early in the girls’ careers and see where it grows.

“I never played for JV,” captain Haleigh Thompson said. “But I like how I see a lot of the young girls communicate here (during camp). We’re not where we want to be, but we’ll get there.”

As a attacking midfielder, communication is key for Thompson.

There needs to be a reason for actions in soccer, and for Thompson to get her chances to score, everyone needs to be on the same page. But it’s the defense that needs the most work, as Farias admitted his squad from a year ago tended to collapse at the end of games.

This year that looks to change as Rogers is working to make the defensive line one of the best in the league. The first step is an easy one: just get along long enough.

“We’re ‘Ram-ly’ … we all just get along real well,” captain Brianna Cross said. “We don’t go head to head and there’s no cliques, so we get along really well. It’s great because we all play well since we have a connection with each other.”

The hope is there for Rogers girls soccer. It’s not a single-season goal that drives Farias to make Rogers a better program.

It’s about past, present and future for the Rams.

“My goal as a coach is to make Rogers the best program I feel they can be,” Farias concluded. “I believe Rogers can be a great soccer school … it doesn’t matter what the team did in the past, you know, and I tell them that. It’s where you want to go in your career and how much are you willing to work for that (goal).”