Mercer Island midfielder Luca Mtskhetadze (left) celebrates with teammate Jonah Hyman, right, after scoring on a header against Juanita last season. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography

Mercer Island midfielder Luca Mtskhetadze (left) celebrates with teammate Jonah Hyman, right, after scoring on a header against Juanita last season. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography

Islanders possess young talent on soccer pitch

The Mercer Island boys soccer team awaits the new season.

The Mercer Island boys soccer team has young talent up and down the roster as it awaits the start of the season.

Due to the school closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, if and when the Islanders return to the pitch is unknown. Second-year head coach Forrest Marowitz said the safety of players is his primary concern.

Marowitz said the possibility of the seniors missing out on their senior season is heartbreaking.

“Our seniors are doing a really great job of being mature about the situation. I feel really awful for them,” Marowitz said. “We just kind of take it as it comes. There’s not much else we can really do.”

Marowitz said their balanced roster helps create a competitive practice environment, which is something that makes everyone better.

“That’s really great because it makes the practice environment really competitive, which is what we want,” Marowitz said. “Everyone on the squad can play, everyone can compete at the level that we need.”

With only five seniors, the Islanders have a solid group of juniors and seniors that are hoping to contribute on the pitch.

“We have sophomores that are coming in, first year on varsity, looking to make an impact and not necessarily sit in the background but to come forward and be in-game contributors,” Marowitz said.

For the young players on the roster, they’re able to create an identity for the team over the next couple of years.

“I think that when you have a strong group of sophomores and juniors that come in and say, ‘We might be here for 2-3 seasons together’ and they’re really thinking about how they’re going to shape the identity of the team in a long-term aspect,” Marowitz said.

Marowitz said that having a team of primarily sophomores and juniors doesn’t change the big picture.

“Whether you have seniors, juniors or sophomores, they’re all trying to do the same thing,” Marowitz said. “They just want to go out and win and have a good time.”

The Islanders will be looking to play a possession-based style of soccer in the upcoming season. Marowitz said the senior leadership has done a very good job of making sure there is a team-first mentality.

“A lot of guys are really good on the ball, guys that understand space and where to be off the ball,” Marowitz said. “We were spending a lot of time at practice focusing on keeping our shape. We have a hungry mentality on defense, so if we don’t have the ball, guys are working really hard to get it back.”

Marowitz said he hopes things improve enough that games are played and people feel comfortable coming out to their games.

“We’d love to show the Island what kind of soccer we like to play,” Marowitz said. “Hopefully we can still come out of this with a KingCo championship to play for or a state tournament to play for.”

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