To call Danny Wing a student of the game of soccer would be an understatement.
For his senior project, the Camas midfielder literally went to school on how to coach soccer. Wing spent the fall shadowing his coach Roland Minder as he guided the Camas girls team to the Class 4A state championship.
“One of the main things he does is build great relationships with his players,” Wing said, when asked what he learned. “That’s extremely important because without those, your players aren’t going to work hard for you.”
This spring, Wing put those lessons to work on the field. The attacking midfielder scored a team-high 20 goals in the 16 games he played, leading Camas to a share of the 4A Greater St. Helens League title and a state quarterfinal berth.
For his accomplishments, Wing is The Columbian’s All-Region player of the year.
The season didn’t begin on the best note for Wing. He tore his hip flexor in preseason practice, causing him to miss two matches.
Camas finished the nonleague season unbeaten, but found itself in a Greater St. Helens League dogfight. Midway through the league season, four of five GSHL teams were within three points of the lead.
Camas rolled through the second half of the league season with three wins and draw. That surge earned the Papermakers at least a share of the league title for the 11th straight year.
“When everybody was able to put 100 percent effort in we were able to do great things,” Wing said.
As attacking midfielder, Wing could be a scorer or a facilitator. He had six assists this season.
“Minder always tells us ‘if you have a shot on goal, take it,'” Wing said. “I like to shoot when I’m open, but if there’s a teammate in a better position, I’ll definitely pass it.”
Injury again reared its head at the end of the season. Wing suffered a fracture above his eye socket in the Papermakers’ first-round state tournament win over Sunnyside. He didn’t play in a 7-1 quarterfinal loss to Central Valley.
Yet only positives come to mind when Wing thinks about the season.
“Just all the relationships I’ve had with my friends,” he said. “And all the successes we had despite the challenges we had to face. It was an extremely fun season.”
There were triumphs, hurdles and lessons learned that Wing will draw upon in the future. He’ll attend Boise State and possibly play for the school’s club team (Boise state doesn’t have an official men’s soccer program).
And he’ll never stop being a student, or teacher, of the game.
“I definitely want to coach,” Wing said.
All-Region boys soccer team
Max Basarab, Heritage
Senior forward scored 10 goals, including seven of his team’s 10 in 4A Greater St. Helens League play.
Jake Connop, Columbia River
2A GSHL co-MVP as a freshman, the forward scored a team-high 19 goals for the league-champ Chieftains.
Dominic Fewel, Camas
Junior defender/midfielder was co-captain. First-team all-4A Greater St. Helens League for two straight years.
Babucarr Touray, Fort Vancouver
Senior central midfielder was a leader on a team that has players from 16 different nations.
Bryan Valdez, Mountain View
Senior midfielder was a key part of a team that scored 35 goals and allowed opponents to score just 17.
Candler Bolte, Columbia River
Junior midfielder contributed both as a scorer and for a defense that allowed 17 goals in 20 matches.
Killian Burris, Evergreen
3A GSHL co-MVP, the senior midfielder scored or assisted on 16 of his team’s 30 goals.
Brandon Palmateer, Battle Ground
4A GSHL MVP, the junior was the rock of a Tigers defense that held 13 opponents to one goal or less..
Quentin Roemer, Prairie
The freshman defender helped lead a stout Falcons defense that allowed 20 goals in 19 matches.
David Warne, Mountain View
3A GSHL co-MVP, the senior forward was leader of league champ squad that outscored opponents 35-17.
Brandon Wolter, Union
Senior goalkeeper was second-team all-state in 2016. Will play for Western Washington.