Juneau-Douglas' Sherrod Miller, left, competes against Thunder Mountain's Riley Lawlar for the ball during the game at TMHS on Wednesday.

Juneau-Douglas' Sherrod Miller, left, competes against Thunder Mountain's Riley Lawlar for the ball during the game at TMHS on Wednesday.

TMHS boys soccer seniors rose up, again and again

Through two winless seasons it would be easy for Thunder Mountain High School’s boys soccer team to hang their heads, mail it in, or just transfer to Juneau-Douglas High School. But like Confucius, the Falcons boys know their greatest glory isn’t to never fall, but rather to rise every time they fall.

Senior Ben Garrett, speaking after a 6-0 senior night loss to JDHS, said he is proud to be part of a resilient group that never indulged in self-pity or negative attitudes.

“These coaches, they enforce positive attitudes,” Garrett said. “That’s one of the most important things because that’s contstantly a battle if you’re going to lose a lot and go against teams like JD who are really, really good. You have to have a positive attitude, so it helps to have great coaches who reinforce that.”

TMHS graduates six seniors this year: Joyh Seymour, Rifqi Zulfahmi, Jeremiah Stephens, Ma’ake Ma’ake, Andrew Clark and Ben Garrett. The boys have gone through three different head coaches in their careers, and they’ve seen a huge improvement under the tutelage of head coach Tim Lewis and assistant coach Josh Odum, who are the first pair to coach this group for longer than one season.

“If I look back from where we started freshman year, we’re in a lot better place,” Garrett said. “It’s taken a long time and we’ve had a lot of obstacles: the changing of coaches or people moving to JD, moving (out of town) or just deciding not to play. Throughout all that we’re a better team still and that’s just a really big deal to me because it’s about building the program.”

Odum has worked with standout goalkeeper John Seymour since his youth soccer years. Seymour feels he wouldn’t be the same keeper without Odum’s help, and that the team has improved substantially under coach Lewis.

“I think Tim (Lewis) and Josh (Odum) staying has been very important to the program,” Seymour said. “Just from the beginning of the year they’ve progressed the program so much. A lot of these freshmen have seen so much growth,” Seymour said.

“(The growth) has been exponential,” Garrett said.

“The coaches are like fire and water, but they work very well together. It’s just going to build up from here,” Stephens said. “I am looking forward to see what these freshmen are going to do.”

Ma’ake, a senior striker who’s going on to play college football at El Camino College, said he will miss practicing with his soccer family the most.

“My favorite thing about soccer was just coming to practice with a bunch of positive people around you,” he said. “They’re always cheering you on, they’re like another family that you can count on, on and off the field.”

Clark agreed, saying, “I think I’ll always remember practices. They’re very focussed but they’re always fun. I think if we keep building the way we have, the freshmen this year, when they’re seniors, will have a shot at state.”

A couple more highlights the boys mentioned:

Most victorious moment: “Probably second half of the North Pole game. We were just on point. We didn’t win, but we dominated the field,” Garrett said.

Favorite team quote: “Play clean, but aggressive, and always work twice as hard as your opponent,” Ma’ake said. “When I ask (coach Josh Odum) if I can play dirty, he said ‘a little bit,’” said Zulfahmi, who is known for the catchphrase, “Oh, it’s so hot!”, which he once said after a particularly hard shot.

Related articles:

Slideshow: TMHS, JDHS boys soccer senior night

JDHS boys net senior night win

Jeremiah Stephens is acknowledged with his family during Thunder Mountain Senior NIght at Thunder Mountain High School on Wednesday.

Jeremiah Stephens is acknowledged with his family during Thunder Mountain Senior NIght at Thunder Mountain High School on Wednesday.

Andrew Clark is acknowledged with his family during Thunder Mountain Senior NIght at Thunder Mountain High School on Wednesday.

Andrew Clark is acknowledged with his family during Thunder Mountain Senior NIght at Thunder Mountain High School on Wednesday.

Juneau-Douglas' Brysen Mitchell, right, watches his ball roll into the goal after beating Thunder Mountain's goalie John Seymour during the game at TMHS on Wednesday.

Juneau-Douglas’ Brysen Mitchell, right, watches his ball roll into the goal after beating Thunder Mountain’s goalie John Seymour during the game at TMHS on Wednesday.

More in Sports

Juneau's high school football team finished the regular season 8-0 (7-0 in conference) after hanging on to win a 19-14 nail-biter against Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Huskies finish regular season undefeated

Huskies hang on — but not without last-minute drama.

Wendy Vuille poses with skater Brendyn Hatfield at the Arizona Adult Skating Camp. (Courtesy Photo / Wendy Vuille)
Better skate than never: Over a decade of hard work nets Juneau woman rare honor

Over a decade of hard work nets Juneau woman rare honor

A total of 145 boys from 10 Southeast Alaska high schools dash out from the starting line at the Capital City Invite at A Káx Yaa Andagan Yé (Sandy Beach) on Saturday morning. The 5K race for boys’ and girls’ teams was the region’s largest cross-country race of the season, and final regular season competition before the regional championship in Sitka this weekend. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Many merry after massive muddy meet

Juneau’s cross-country runners and coaches in sunny spirits about chances going into championships

TMHS’ Ashlyn Gates and JDHS’ Mila Hargrave both reach for the ball during the second set of a cross-town volleyball match held at JDHS on Friday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
TMHS wins two cross-town matches

TMHS wins two cross-town matches

A Lucas White (21) block buys Jarrell Williams (1) more room to work during a 49-32 win against Service High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Juneau cooks up a conference title

Huskies are back-to-back Cook Inlet Conference champs after lopsided win.

Senior Moana Tuviafale of Thunder Mountain High School (far right) was named to the all-tournament team at this year’s Spiktacular tournament this weekend at West Anchorage High School. From left to right, other players in photo are Hayden Inman of Chugiak High School, Liyah Pilgrim of Colony High School and Marija Wunnicke of South High School. (Courtesy Photo / Julie Herman)
TMHS takes 3rd at Spiketacular tournament

The Falcons are ranked 3rd in the state

Jarrell Williams, who scored five TDs against South Anchorage to help Juneau maintain an undefeated record, looks over the line of scrimmage in an Aug. 27 game against West Anchorage High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
5 TD’s power Juneau’s 6th win

Juneau football still undefeated on the season.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
From left to right, Liz Perry, president and CEO of Travel Juneau; SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium project manager Sierra Gadaire; High Cadence Triathlon team coach Jamie Bursell; and City and Borough of Juneau Finance Director Jeff Rogers met at Juneau Moose Family Center on Thursday afternoon to share a recap of the Ironman Alaska to a full crowd of members of the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce who joined in at the luncheon.
2023 vision: Officials look at the future of Ironman Alaska

They reviewed what went well and what could change for next time.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire
Two-time national champion and Olympic bronze medalist Gracie Gold talks with the Juneau Empire ahead of her upcoming free speech at Juneau-Douglas High School on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.
Olympian takes time to talk mental health

Bronze medalist, 2-time champ to speak Saturday.

Jarrell Williams (1) and Thomas Baxter (84) celebrate a big play on defense early in Juneau's win over the visiting West Valley Rams. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Huskies get the Rams’ goat under Friday night lights

Juneau remains undefeated on the season.

FILE - Lance Mackey sits with his lead dogs Larry, right, and Maple after crossing the finish line of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on March 18, 2009, in Nome, Alaska, to win his third Iditarod in a row. Mackey, a four-time Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race winner and one of mushing’s most colorful and accomplished champions who also suffered from health and drug issues, died Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, his father and kennel announced on Facebook. He was 52. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)
Cancer claims 4-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey

Officials with the world’s most famous sled dog race said Iditarod Nation was in mourning.