Game On - Spring 2024

B J Jordison is not one to sit back, relax, and bask in past glory. The leader of the Gilbert boys’ soccer pro- gram for 13 seasons, he’s al- ways looking to what’s next and how can his players, his team, and his program reach even greater heights? That didn’t completely change this past offseason, but Jor- dison admits he did allow him- When you win a state cham- pionship — the first in program history — you do enjoy it, if even for a short while. “I’m usually someone who’s always asking, ‘How do we pre- pare for that next step?’ But I did enjoy last year, it was good,” Jordison said. “We had quite a few good weeks where we let it soak in. But we held our annual soccer camp in mid-July, and by that time I was already on to the next year.” So about five or six weeks, that’s what Jordison gave him- self and his players. And then it was back to work. Because when you win one, you want two. And when you win two, you want three, and so on. self a short window of celebratory reflection. With last season’s run to the Class 2A state title still fresh in the memories of everyone around the program, the Tigers are back on the pitch with lofty goals once again this spring.

SPRING 2024 | GAME ON 9 last season. Because as Jor- dison says, what Gilbert accom- plished last season won’t really help them this spring. “It was definitely exciting last year and I wouldn’t trade that for the world, but this is defi- nitely a new season,” Jordison said. There is talent returning at every level on the field, but let’s start at the back. Jordison does- n’t mince words when he says the Tigers’ defense has been the best in the state — all classes — for a couple of years. It can be really good again, but it will have to replace the heart and soul of the 2023 group in graduates Owen Kautman and Alex Ruba. Both were big, fast, physical, and so, so talented. “That’s a big loss,” Jordison said. “They did the dirty work and unsung work that every team needs every single game. They were those voices that we needed in the times that maybe things weren’t going well.” The good news is two starting defenders return in Nash Han- son and Logan Harswick, and Jordison is confident new starters Dylan Terry and Owen Mattson will live up to the level of excellence he expects. And, don’t forget, goalkeeper Mat- thew Weber, a state all-tourna- ment team member, returns with 94 saves from 2023 as well. “We’re going to be no slouch

Head boys’ soccer coach BJ Jordison receives a hug from goalkeeper Mat- thew Weber following the Class 2A state championship match last spring. Jordison is entering his 13th season as the head coach of the program.

Did they lose plenty of talent to graduation? Yep, they sure did. But do they return a solid group of players who feel they have the ability to make another run at gold this spring? Yep, they sure do. That includes Jordison. “Absolutely,” Jordison said without hesitation when he was asked if his latest crop of players can contend for a state title. “I think it may look a little different, but the goal is still the

same.” That goal hasn’t changed throughout his tenure, and over the past decade Gilbert has been a statewide powerhouse. In the last six seasons, the Tigers have pitched 62 shutouts and outscored their opponents by 234 goals. Over the past two seasons, the team has com- piled a 38-5 record, including a 21-2 mark and 80-goal edge with 14 shutouts a season ago. OK, OK, that’s enough about

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