by: DAN BROOD - SHERWOOD STARS -- Sherwood area soccer players (from left) Lindsey Howard, Sarah Garoutte, Mikaya Howes, Meghan Schoen and Jessica Imbrie all were among the players included in the Region IV Olympic Development Program player pool. SHERWOOD — Maybe it’s something in the water.

Maybe it’s the result of a tradition-rich program.

Maybe its all hard work and skill.

No matter what it is, Sherwood girls soccer is making itself known — not only in the state of Oregon, but in the entire west coast.

Want proof?

Just look at the list of pool players who earned call backs in the Region IV (far west region) Olympic Development Program. Five of them are from Sherwood.

“Usually, there are just a few from the state who get called back for the regional pool,” Sherwood High School girls soccer coach Bill Brown said. “We’ve got five from Sherwood this year, in three different age levels. That’s really special — these are some special players.”

The Sherwood players called back for the Region IV pool include Sherwood High School seniors-to-be Mikayla Howes, Jessica Imbrie and Meghan Schoen, Sherwood sophomore-to-be Sarah Garoutte and eighth-grader Lindsey Howard.

“It felt good to be called back,” Garoutte said. “It made me feel like I’m one of the best.”

Garoutte, Howes, Imbrie and Schoen all helped the Sherwood High School girls soccer team win the 2011 Class 5A state title while going 19-0 on the season.

Howes, Imbrie and Schoen all are part of the Region IV 95 (players born in 1995) player pool. The pool includes 34 players, with six of those players coming from Oregon. And, Sherwood, of course, boasts three of those six players.

“The oldest group is usually intense,” Imbrie said. “There’s good competition.”

Imbrie should know what she’s talking about. Last year, she earned a spot on the final Region IV team. In fact, due to a commitment to play for that team in a ODP event in Florida, Imbrie missed last year’s high school state championship match, where the Lady Bowmen scored a 1-0 win over Wilsonville.

“That was tough, but I was rooting for them from my hotel room, watching my computer,” Imbrie said. “But it was cool to go to Florida last year. We played against players from all over the country. It was tough. It was such a high level of soccer.”

“It would be fun to get to do that this year,” said Schoen, who shared the Class 5A State Player of the Year honors with Imbrie last year. “I haven’t done ODP before.”

The Sherwood girls were among hundreds of players that took part in the Region IV ODP camp, held at the University of Idaho, in Moscow, Idaho, in July. From that big group, the numbers were trimmed down to those who earned regional call backs.

“I never made it before,” Howes said.

But, hard work, dedication and teamwork paid off.

“We grew up loving soccer,” Imbrie said.

“All of us have been together for at least five years,” Schoen added. “We’ve played a lot of soccer together.”

Garoutte is one of just three Oregon players in the Region IV 97 player pool.

“It’s special,” she said with a smile.

Howard, who attends Sherwood Middle School, is one of nine Oregon players in the Region IV 99 player pool.

“I did it last year. I tried to play up on the 98 team,” she said. “This year was really, really competitive. There a lot of good Southern California players. But I knew what I needed to work on.”

All of this certainly seems to add up for good things for Sherwood in the future.

“They’re all really good, special players,” Brown said. “They’re the total package.”

And then there’s the tradition, established somewhat by the Sherwood High School girls soccer team, which has won two state championships and played in another state title contest in the past five years.

“I’ve been to a lot of high school games,” Howard said. “And I can’t wait to play high school soccer.”

“Success breeds success,” Brown said. “We’re always going to be in it.”

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