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Peninsula Daily News
SEQUIM — Sequim boys soccer coach Dave Brasher needed a scorer.
So, before the season, he approached Mason Barrett and told the senior defender he was thinking about moving him to striker.
At first hesitant, Barrett agreed to the switch.
“I figured, I was a senior, I might as well try something new,” Barrett said.
“It went really well.”
It went so well that Barrett scored nine goals (“It’s been a while since we’ve had someone score that many,” Brasher said.), and was chosen for the All-Olympic League First Team at his new position.
Barrett also has been chosen as the 2013 All-Peninsula Boys Soccer MVP.
The position shift went well for the Wolves, too, helping them place fourth in the Olympic League and earn a berth in the West Central District playoffs.
“We haven’t had that in a while: A go-to scorer,” Brasher said.
A lot of potential
Although Barrett had played defense for most of the last eight years, Brasher saw in him a potential goal-scorer.
“He’s big, strong and skilled,” Brasher said, “and he has an extra gear speed-wise.”
Brasher said he believed Sequim had some passers who could set up Barrett.
Barrett-at-striker quickly paid dividends.
He scored two goals in the Wolves’ season-opening overtime shootout loss to league powerhouse Kingston.
“I surprised myself, actually,” Barrett said of his fast start.
By moving from defense to forward, Barrett’s role changed from preventing goals to producing them.
To help with this philosophical transformation, Barrett sought out tips from friends who played striker.
He also received valuable advice from Peninsula College head men’s soccer coach Andrew Chapman at a camp the Sequim team attended.
“He told me to run diagonals, because it’s easier to stay onside. Brasher told me that, too,” Barrett said.
“[Chapman] also told me to work closely with the other strikers.”
After that, Barrett reminded himself, and was reminded by his coach, of his objective to score goals.
“Before games, I would tell myself, ‘I’m going to score. I’m going to put the ball in the back of the net,’ ” Barrett said.
“I also had a lot of pressure. Brasher told me that the team was looking to me to be the leading scorer.”
Barrett said the transition was significantly easier once he realized that the Wolves still had a stout defense without him.
Having a handful of passers to set him up was a big help, too.
Brasher said Barrett had some “pretty spectacular goals,” but the coach and player differ on which was Barrett’s best goal.
Brasher most enjoyed a goal in Sequim’s first game against rival Port Angeles, a 2-0 win for the Wolves.
Nicholas Baird fed the ball to Barrett as two Roughrider defenders converged. Barrett split the two defenders, and then booted the ball toward the goal.
Port Angeles goalkeeper Jack Doryland managed to get a hand on the ball, but not enough to prevent the goal.
“If it went straight into the goal, it might have been the top choice,” Barrett said.
“Jack Doryland, he’s an excellent keeper; it felt good to get a goal past him, but it wasn’t the prettiest shot.”
Barrett’s personal favorite goal came in the Wolves’ second game against Port Townsend, which they won 4-0.
Barrett said he received a “really nice pass” from a midfielder, giving Barrett the ball about 10 feet behind the defense.
He squeaked past the defense to set up a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Barrett’s shot deflected off the post and into the goal.
“I had to work hard for it,” Barrett said.
After Barrett’s early success at striker, Olympic League foes began double-teaming him and defending him more physically.
This subdued Barrett’s scoring, but he still battled and helped Sequim’s offensive attack.
He also developed a noble reputation.
“He’s recognized around the league as a tough player,” Brasher said.
Now that he has graduated from high school, Barrett plans to attend Peninsula College and hopes to try out for the Pirates’ NWAACC championship soccer team.
Sports reporter/outdoors columnist Lee Horton can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at email@example.com.