This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Juan Diego, Sr., Forward
23 goals, 11 assists
Castillo scored in all but one game and scored multiple goals in a game seven times for the Soaring Eagle this season. He tallied seven goals during the state tournament to carry the defending champs back to the Class 3A final before falling in heart-breaking fashion in the championship game. Despite the uncompleted repeat attempt, Castillo ended his illustrious career at Juan Diego as the school's all-time leading scorer with 49 goals. "He has a nose for the goal," Juan Diego coach Scott Platz said. "When the ball is in a dangerous area, he's almost always getting a touch to it in some sort of way. He's just a really versatile type of scorer where he really doesn't have to rely on one kind of move or style. He can do it in a lot of different ways. He was a very talented player even when he came in as a freshman. I think he felt like once the goals and the offense started to come early in the year, I think he just gained more and more confidence."
Murray, Sr., Forward
19 goals, 7 assists
Wilcken, the leading scorer on one of the most dominant teams in Class 4A, scored nearly twice as many goals as the team's second leading scorer (10). With so much speed up top, Murray's opponents could do little to stay in front of the elusive forward. "Beamer just operated really well out in space," Spartans coach Bryan Demann said. "Because he was so quick, he just demanded help out of the middle. So if they brought someone to help defend him, he was able to find the open man for an assist." Demann also praised his star striker's accuracy, hand-eye coordination and selflessness. "He's not the type of guy who is counting his goals, so it made teammates willing to work hard for him because they knew he was working hard for them."
Wasatch, Sr., Forward
15 goals, 12 assists
Lopez, who accounted for nearly half of the Wasps' total offense, was instrumental in keeping Wasatch in the hunt in one of the toughest regions in the state. Having to face the likes of former defending champion Maple Mountain as well as a talented Uintah squad, Lopez used his dynamic skill set to create for himself and others. "Playing in this region, Jesse was learning that he couldn't do it all himself," Wasatch coach Dawain Wheatley said. "I think that was kind of the turning point. We had to step it up offensively as a team, and Jesse understood at that point the value of getting the ball to his teammates. Offensively we were really good this year, and he was instrumental in being a leader in that area. He'd take chances when he needed to, but he would also recognize when it was best to distribute for a better opportunity."
Weber, Jr., Forward/Midfielder
14 goals, 10 assists
Price, the utility tool in the Weber offensive attack, was either the primary scorer or playmaker throughout the season, helping the Warriors claim the Region 1 crown. "If he wasn't scoring goals, he was creating space and getting the ball out to someone else who could score," Weber coach Jan Swift said. "He's a threat out there, and he takes a lot of pressure off our defense because he's always attacking the goal. He's refined a lot of his game the last couple years. His vision of the field has improved, and his ball skills have gotten better as well."
Box Elder, Sr., Forward
25 goals, 5 assists
Watson was the key to Box Elder's resurgence in Region 5, helping the Bees get all the way to the Class 4A semifinals before falling to eventual champion Alta. Despite being known as Box Elder's primary offensive threat, Watson still was able to blow away the competition thanks to his hard work in the offseason. "That's what makes it that much more impressive, because teams knew him – all the teams knew who Trevan Watson was," Bees coach Nate Bywater said. "He's fast, he's strong, but he did his own weight program this year to put a little more weight and muscle on him. That's just the kind of work ethic that this kid has. I think all of these characteristics are what coaches dream of if they can get a bunch of guys that have the character of Trevan Watson, let alone his output, then coaches have a good time. He's always moving and he's always looking to get involved."
East, Sr., Forward/Midfielder
12 goals, 11 assists
On a team with several talented playmakers up top, Barker stood out for the Leopards because of his ability to create for others. While the senior forward did tie for the team lead in goals, he doubled, tripled and nearly quadrupled most of his teammates' assist totals in 2017. After starting the previous two seasons, he had to adapt to still be effective on offense. "He learned this year that when he was facing those constant double teams from opposing defenses that he could help our team a lot by passing the ball," East coach Rudy Schenk said. "That made him an even more dangerous player because he became so proficient at scoring and assisting. He developed into a leader and an overall team player with the maturity he gained after being with our team for so long and becoming a captain in the process."
Ridgeline, Sr., Forward
21 goals, 9 assists
Vazquez took on a leadership role in a new program and flourished, helping lead first-year Ridgeline to the Class 3A state title. It was Vazquez who always made the big play when it mattered most throughout the season, including scoring the equalizing goal against Juan Diego in the 3A title game. "Being able to consistently score in important games was so important," Ridgeline coach, and the player's father, JC Vazquez Sr. said. "His speed just makes such a huge difference in many of the goals that we scored, but he also scored some incredibly difficult goals from distance. The one area where he developed so much and it really affected the team was his leadership skills. Even though he did so much work offensively for us, he was able to get other guys involved and make it so they were contributing."
Layton, Sr., Defender
Chambers, the core of one of the strongest defenses in the state, and the Layton Lancers only allowed 12 goals all season en route to their first state soccer title since 2003. With experience at every position, Chambers' knowledge of the game made him such a staunch defensive presence. "He read the game so much better than everyone else," Lancer coach Rick Talamentez said. "He sees the game three of four steps ahead of what's going on. He's very smart technically and tactically. That definitely makes a huge difference in the game." Aside from being a force on the Layton backline, Chambers aided the Lancers' offense with his calm distributions and great leaping ability inside the opponent's 18-yard box.
Alta, Sr., Defender
Alta's defense, which only allowed 16 goals all season, was a big reason why the Hawks returned to the mountaintop in Class 4A this season. Sidwell, a key member of that defense, finally was able to contribute after battling the injury bug throughout most of his high school career. "He's just got a super big heart," Alta coach Lee Mitchell said. "He has been so hampered with injuries over the past three years, I don't think he played any varsity last season. But he just took care of business when he finally got healthy, and it showed. He's got a great attitude and work ethic, and I think that's what helped him get through the injuries. He worked his butt off in practice and he left it all on the field on game days. It didn't matter if the guy coming at him was 6 inches taller than him, he still was able to defend them well."
Olympus, Jr., Defender
With Dansie on the backline and Luke Johnson in goal, it's easy to see how Olympus kept its goals allowed in the single digits this season. At over 6-feet tall, Dansie has been an imposing figure on the Titans' defense for two years, and coach Chris Sonntag expects more of the same in the future. "He was good last year as a sophomore, so we knew we were going to have a solid player this year," Sonntag said. "He gets out there and his timing is so good. The way soccer is now, with so many teams playing with three forwards, you've always got a high-scoring guy coming at you. We try to decide who that player is and invariably they end up in front of James. He always kept those players in front of him, and with his height, he would win balls in the air easily. He's quick, he's fast, he's slender but also very physical."
Fremont, Sr., Defender
A two-sport star in soccer and football, Freeman's strength and athletic ability made him a nightmare for opposing forwards. End-to-end speed, leaping ability, toughness and a long throw-in were just some of the tools Freeman employed while his Silver Wolves rolled through most of Region 1. "He brought a lot of leadership and athletic ability by playing football," Fremont coach Fred Smith said. "It's always so valuable when those two-sport athletes can transfer different skills from different sports into the sport they're playing right now. He could outrun you, he was strong in the air and he was strong on the ground. He was just a great leader and everything we could hope for in a defender."
Olympus, Sr., Goalkeeper
11 shutouts, 9 goals allowed
Johnson was the biggest reason why Olympus could claim to be the state's stingiest defense. In his third year starting for coach Chris Sonntag, the senior goalkeeper left a lasting legacy. "He's the best I've seen. He really is," Sonntag said. From his control of the backline to his positioning inside the box and his athletic shot-stopping, Johnson was a complete package that rarely disappointed. "Just the senior leadership he had was so valuable," Sonntag said. "He's been through it all. In years past, there might have been a gaff or two, but not this year. He just managed every game so well and that just comes with experience."