When Sumner High School girls soccer coach Robi Turley won her 200th career game in the Spartans’ 2-0 win against Bellarmine Prep on Thursday (Oct. 3), it capped off an impressive week for the team. The win against the Lions came on the heels of a pivotal 3-0 win over SPSL 4A rival Puyallup just two days earlier.
But instead of patting themselves on the back for knocking off the best competition the league had to offer, Sumner’s players were more focused on celebrating their coach’s milestone win, bringing out signs they had made before the game to commemorate the occasion.
It reminded Turley why she still loves her job, after 15 years as the Spartans’ coach.
“This is an extremely selfless team,” Turley said. “ I’ve never seen a team just so about each other and each other’s successes before. They’re all about celebrating each other all the time. … I feel like Thursday was an example of their selflessness. They just had two very good wins against Puyallup and Bellarmine, and they’re focused on celebrating me instead of that.”
Turley, who spent two seasons at Kent Meridian before moving to Sumner, knew the milestone win was coming. She was asked by Sumner athletic director Jeff Baines, before the season began, to compile her overall coaching record.
“It made me dig through all the years,” Turley said. “I knew this year that was reachable. So that was one of my personal goals.”
Memories from over the past decade-and-a-half flooded Turley’s mind after Thursday’s win.
“I think about all the past players that I’ve had and the present players that I’ve had, that have been part of my journey at Sumner,” Turley said. “This is kind of the reward. It had me reflect a lot on how many great memories and moments that I’ve had.”
There have been plenty of great memories and standout players who have gone through the program in the recent past. Sumner has reached the state tournament 11 seasons in a row now, and won back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013.
“I love how supportive Sumner is of high school athletics,” Turley said. “I think having the support of the community and parents and players is really helpful. Having good players that buy into the culture. I’ve just been lucky to have some really great kids that continue to keep the culture strong. I truly believe we have a strong culture. I’ve definitely had some very good soccer players, also. But I take even more pride in the sense of culture.”
It’s a culture of hard work, but mostly, Turley tries to keep it fun. With the amount of money and time poured into the club soccer scene, the Sumner coach sees the high school season as an escape from all that seriousness.
“I try to get them to understand that it’s not about them in high school soccer,” Turley said. “It’s about representing their school, their team, community. The club realm, it is about them. That’s what they get their scholarships and their parents pay money. I try to make it fun because I know club soccer can be a bit of a grind. Some people think you can’t have fun and be successful at the same time. We can instill that in them.”
The wins will keep on coming for the Spartans. And even with Turley focused on raising a young family, she said she doesn’t see herself leaving before No. 300 comes around.
“I still absolutely love it and love being at Sumner,” she said.