It was a cold, gray, blustery day and the sun had taken a day off.
“This would be a nice day in Oregon,” said Mountain Pointe senior Brandon Hansen after the opening round of the Dobson Mustang Soccer Classic at Mesa Red Mountain Park.
The Pride boys soccer midfielder/forward might as well get used to it.
This time next year Hansen will be playing soccer for the Oregon State Beavers.
After playing on the Pride varsity for the past four years, Hansen had been courted by other schools but found what he liked in the PAC-10 school in Corvallis.
“I really liked everything about it,” Hansen said. “It just all came together: the school, coaches, team, division, everything. Oregon State was the best fit for me and I’m happy to be able to go there.”
Mountain Pointe’s boys soccer program has alumni spread out around the country, but not in the PAC-10.
“I guess I won’t have a lot of people to ask advice,” Hansen said, “but it will be a new experience and it will be fun.”
The Beavers will likely have Hansen playing as an attacking midfielder or forward.
He’s familiar with both positions and has been one of the team’s leading scorers in his sophomore and junior seasons.
“It’s been pretty much like that since my freshman year,” he explained. “We had Spencer Thompson and John Kierstead, but since they graduated we were left with a hole and I’ve been trying to fill their shoes for the past three years.”
Thompson is a junior at the University of California-Irvine and Kierstead also continued his soccer career in college. Kierstead did not continue to play in college and is attending the University of Arizona, where he intends to go into medical school.
Mountain Pointe coach Brian Sabato admits he has leaned on Hansen to put the ball in the back of the net for the past three seasons.
“We’ve relied on him to score some goals and this year we’ll take any help we can get,” Sabato said. “Naturally, he’s an attacking midfielder, but we can put him at center midfield or forward. He can pretty much play anywhere.”
Hansen rarely leaves the field.
“I play a lot because I play two positions and I like them both,” he added. “As a center midfielder I like to keep the flow of the game going, but I like to score goals, too.”
Hansen, who has been playing since he was 5, has been a team captain since he was a junior.
He has, what Sabato calls, “soccer sense.”
“His technical ability on the ball and his understanding of the game make him such a good player,” Sabato said.
Each season Hansen has added to that soccer knowledge.
“I guess it’s natural to get better every year,” he said. “But it does seem to get easier just because of the experience.”