Something good came to an end for a group of Oak Harbor soccer players Sunday.
Ridgely Briddell, Max Brighton, Alex Johnston, Brandon McCracken, Jon Pierce and Ethan Snell played youth soccer together for multiple seasons. For most, it has been eight years.
So, when the season for the North Whidbey Soccer Club Deception FC B01 ended last weekend, so did a journey that spanned nearly half of the lives of the players.
“They have worked hard over the years, and it’s sad to think this is their last season together,” said Ben Harrison, their coach the past three years.
Pierce said, “I’m going to miss how funny, optimistic and hard working each of these guys is. It’s been a pleasure playing with them.”
Brighton added, “I am going to miss everyone who’s been on the team for so long because they are like brothers to me, and it’ll be so different not seeing them all the time.”
Snell noted that with their busy schedules, the only time they can consistently socialize together is on the field.
Johnston lamented that he will not only miss the “good times” with his teammates but also the opportunity to “just play soccer” and learn new skills.
He added that while their time playing together is over, it provided the opportunity to get to know each other.
“I have become good friends with them, and without soccer, I probably wouldn’t have met them,” he said.
Snell echoed that comment: “The friendships I’ve made on the field have become the closest relationships off the field.”
He added, “They are such great guys…they’ve helped shape me as a person.”
The tight relationships also helped them be successful on the field, according to Brighton.
“We hang out together everyone once in a while, which is great because it helps build our synergy.”
For Pierce, it was all about “chemistry and trust,” which enabled them to understand each other’s skill set.
“I know how they all play,” Johnston said, “and it makes it easier to play with them.”
They all agreed that playing together for so long improved their talents.
As each person’s skill level increased, he spurred the others to improve theirs, Snell said. “We got better together.”
“Playing with guys with more skill and experience has definitely pushed me to become a better soccer player,” Pierce said.
The highlights created the past eight seasons have been many.
Johnston liked winning the final match last season and playing in the tournaments, while Snell liked making it to the finals in the last tournament together.
Pierce cherishes finishing second in the Starfire tournament last summer, which was the first time he won tournament medal, and Brighton likes how the team has grown and improved each year.
So, what’s next?
Johnston plans to go to college and serve a two-year mission for his church.
Snell hopes to earn a doctorate in astrophysics.
Brighton wants to attend college and major in computer science, and he and Pierce hope the future includes more soccer.
Regardless, the past eight seasons have helped them develop lifelong friendships.