International talent, youth lead Service soccer to State
The Service Boys soccer program represented 13 different countries this season, and had its fair share of success as well. The Cougars' varsity squad heads into the state tournament this week as Cook Inlet Conference Champions, and their junior varsity team went undefeated for the first time since 2004.
“We didn’t know we were quite this good,” said Service’s Chase Hodges.
The season began slowly, but the Cougars slowly found their stride as a team.
“The chemistry on this team has made this one of the most special years we’ve had,” said Service Soccer coach Dan Rufner.
That chemistry is impressive, considering some players are still learning English. Rufner, who’s in his 18th season coaching for Service, said they have players from Laos, Mexico, Ghana, Whales, New Zealand, Nepal, Philippines and Greece.
“I think every time you step on the field, no matter where you from, we all have the same goal in mind,” said Hodges.
Service opens the ASAA state soccer tournament May 23 at home against Chugiak.