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News / Sports / Prep Sports

All-Region boys soccer: Luke Jones, Camas

Senior helps direct Papermakers from his center midfielder defensive position

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: May 24, 2024, 6:05am
2 Photos
Luke Jones of Camas plays in a Class 4A boys soccer state first-round match against Mount Rainier at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas on Tuesday, May 14, 2024.
Luke Jones of Camas plays in a Class 4A boys soccer state first-round match against Mount Rainier at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

To watch the Camas boys soccer team play, it can be a challenge to find the star on the team.

In every match, particularly during the Papermakers’ 14-game winning streak that put Camas into the Class 4A state semifinals, it seems like a different player is stepping up to make a big play.

“We’re a unit,” senior Luke Jones said. “We all love to see each other succeed. If one guy’s scoring a goal, that’s awesome, right? You can’t do without the whole team. Every one of these guys has a role, and we can’t do it without any of them, whether playing every minute or they’re on the bench. It doesn’t matter. We’re one.”

As the Papermakers’ center defensive midfielder, Jones is the pivot, keeping the defensive backline where it needs to be while also directing the ball forward to set up on the attack. So he’s involved in everything Camas does, even if he isn’t the one scoring goals.

It’s a role Jones did so well, he was selected as The Columbian’s All-Region boys soccer player of the year.

“I’d say communication is definitely the biggest thing,” Jones said of his role. “I sit in front of the center back, so it’s super important that I stay connected with my center backs and the midfield in front of me. I’m maintaining that position in the middle of the field because I act as the pivot. The ball swings through me.”

On his club team, the Washington Timbers, Jones plays a more forward position, putting him in more scoring opportunities.

“But I’m not the fastest player, so feel like I fit better here,” he said. “Just because I can see more of the field, and I can track more easily. Also, I’m not sprinting down the line the whole time.

“I love high school soccer, just because there’s so much passion. I love the atmosphere.”

Jones then looks up to see one of Camas’ coaches loudly barking orders during practice.

“You see that?” Jones said. “I love that. This is great.”

The high school soccer season will also be the end of the road for Jones. He said he plans to attend the University of Washington in the fall and studying international business.

“I decided I wanted to pursue my education over soccer and maybe play at a smaller school,” he said. “But it’s definitely tough. I don’t know what life is going to be like after this weekend. However it goes, it’s going to be my last real soccer game. And soccer has been a big part of my life.”

How far does it go back?

“I was playing on those fields when I was four,” Jones said, nodding to the grass fields behind Doc Harris Stadium. “My dad was the coach. I’ve been playing with (Camas teammate) Austin Fewel since I was like eight. I’ll still play the game for fun, but it’s definitely going to be weird.”

Jones said Camas’ bumpy start to the season helped pull the team together.

“We’ve always had the talent, but I feel like in the beginning what was difficult for us was really just synching,” he said. “You know, putting our egos aside as individuals and just bond as a team. Once we started doing that, we were more successful.”

It led to 14 straight wins that included a 1-0 win over Chiawana last weekend to send Camas into the state semifinals.

But making it to the state final four felt like icing on the cake for Jones.

“Every game we win is great, obviously just getting to go further,” he said. “But for me, I just look at it as an opportunity to spend more time with these guys because we’re never going to get this team back. This is the last time we’ll be together. So for me, beating Chiawana meant two more games with these guys, another week with these guys. That’s the most important thing to me, as much as I want to win.”

ALL-REGION TEAM

Boys soccer player of the year: Luke Jones, sr., Camas

The other members of the All-Region boys soccer team:

Tito Banuelos, Columbia River: The sophomore forward was a first team 2A GSHL pick, helping the Rapids reach the state quarterfinals.

Pablo Barbosa-Sanchez, Heritage: Senior was the 3A Greater St. Helens League offensive player of the year for the co-league champions.

Diego Bejar, Evergreen: Senior forward sparked the Plainsmen’s attack, posting 22 goals and six assists on the season.

JP Guzman, Columbia River: Despite missing three games, the junior and 2A GSHL offensive player of the year had 18 goals and 11 assists.

Ulices Huerta, Columbia: The speedy junior was the Trico League player of the year, leading the Bruins to the District 4 championship.

Canaan Moore, Union: Junior forward was the 4A Greater St. Helens League offensive player of the year with 21 goals and 24 assists.

Owen Purvis, Mountain View: Senior goalkeeper was the 3A Greater St. Helens League defensive player of the year for the co-league champions.

Azriel Salcedo, Seton Catholic: Junior was the Trico League defensive player of the year for the league champions and state quarterfinalists.

Cooper Schneider, Camas: The sophomore forward was a playmaker for the co-league champions who have won 14 consecutive matches.

Owen Tuttle, Camas: The 6-foot-5 senior led the Papermakers’ backline, but also was a weapon on set pieces on the offensive end.

Angel Villalobos, Hudson’s Bay: Junior was the defensive MVP of the 2A Greater St. Helens League, leading the Eagles to the district playoffs.

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