Wright and Russell like what theyve seen in summer kick-arounds

by: JOHN DENNY - New head coaches Alissa Russell (left) and Becket Wright (right) and assistant coach Marshall Brewer bring a newfound enthusiasm to Oregon City High School girls soccer.Becket Wright and Alissa Russell, the new co-head girls soccer coaches at Oregon City High School, like what they’ve seen in early summer kick-arounds.

“I’ve been impressed with the numbers and interest in summer programs,” said Russell. “And with the quality of girls. They have very good skills. And you can tell that a lot of them have played together for years.”

“We had 56 girls here for the first week of kick-arounds,” said Wright. “The interest is up. We anticipate 85 to 90 girls at tryouts....

“It’s a new start for everyone. We’ve made a lot of changes from the previous coach. Whatever the backstory is, it doesn’t matter. Everyone starts from scratch. If they want to play on varsity, they’re going to have to earn it.

“Everyone’s excited. We’re excited and the girls are excited.... It’s going to be interesting to see how the juniors and seniors adjust to the change, but I do think we can be more competitive [in the Three Rivers League].”

Oregon City has struggled over the past four seasons, finishing last or next to last in the TRL each year, while winning only four of 42 league games.

But Wright and Russell appear up to the challenge. Both are very knowledgeable about the game. They both got their college educations paid for through soccer scholarships, and they bring a newfound enthusiasm to Oregon City High School soccer.

Russell starred in soccer at Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale, Wash., where she played varsity soccer four years, earning first-team all-league honors twice as a central midfielder.

She played soccer four years at Portland State University, starting three seasons as a defender and helping the Vikings win the Big Sky Conference title in 2009.

Wright played varsity soccer four years at Sam Barlow High School, earning all-league honors three years and first-team all-state honors as a senior.

“We were ranked first or second in the state all season my junior and senior years,” said Wright. “We lost to Beaverton in the semis my senior year.”

Wright played for a Pacific University team that made the NAIA playoffs in 1993.

Russell has been a club coach, coaching 9 to 12-year-olds in the Willamette United Soccer Club for the past two seasons. She’s also coached youngsters ages 4-6 in Portland SoccerPlex Indoor.

Russell, who holds a Social Sciences degree from PSU, says she is interested in a full-time career coaching soccer.

Wright has coached youth and classic soccer in Clackamas for the past 10 years. She’s been jayvee coach at Gresham High School the last two years and she’s helped run the Top Soccer program for youth with disabilities at the Oregon Soccer Center for three years.

“I know a lot of these girls [participating in this summer’s high school kick-arounds] because they volunteer with the Top program,” Wright said.

Wright holds a degree in psychology from Pacific University.

Wright and Russell are keeping the Pioneers busy this summer. Some of the girls are playing in a Mt. Hood Conference 6-versus-6 league on Mondays; some are playing in a Southridge 11-versus-11 league on Tuesdays; and most of the girls will participate in a team camp at Concordia University in late July.

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