The 1982 Willamette Men's Soccer Team
By Jamie Timbrell ’06
Jon Schatz ’85 calls it the best soccer team he was ever on.
Brian Clearman ’86 says the camaraderie was the most powerful he has ever seen.
They’re talking about Willamette’s 1982 men’s soccer squad, a team that went 15-4-0 and won the NAIA District II title.
“It remains the hallmark of my collegiate athletic career,” Schatz says. “It was just one of those teams that you will always remember. I am happy I was able to be a part of this great team and special group of guys.”
It was the second season for head coach Brad Victor ’74. Such success led to a growing fan base and enabled the team to play home games at McCulloch Stadium instead of at Wallace Marine Park, as it had done in the past.
“That year was when Brad started to turn it around,” Bill Jackson ’85 remembers. “We did a lot more training. When Brad showed up we really started to work.”
From the very start of the season, the players knew they were building something special.
“It was one of those rare occasions in life where the right personalities came together and everyone really cared about one another, and each individual put the team ahead of himself,” Schatz says. “That extended beyond the field. as a younger player, that team had high expectations for me off the field in the classroom. They demanded certain behavior of me as a student-athlete and as a representative of the soccer team.”
In late August of 1982, Victor scheduled two-a-day preseason workouts. with the thermostat soaring into the mid-90s, the team worked on developing its signature strength — its speed — through an extensive conditioning regimen.
“Brad was a great conditioning coach,” Schatz adds. “and he was smart enough not to get in the way of the upperclassmen leading the team. he did a great job in managing the group, and his coaching record speaks for itself.”
Over 12 years, victor maintained a .623 winning percentage.
The practices and conditioning paid off as Willamette had one of its most prolific scoring seasons ever. The team set a Bearcat record with an 11-game winning streak, and along the way it set a single-game scoring record by beating Linfield College 11-0.
In that game, for the second year in a row, Bruce Higbie ’83 and the Linfield goalkeeper collided; both times, the hit resulted in the same broken leg for the astronomically unlucky goalie.
Jeff Johnson ’88 and Higbie, two of the fastest forwards in the league, led the scoring. Johnson was later selected All-NAIA District II, as were goalie Joe Wells ’85 and defender Jim O’Neil ’83. Johnson, wells and midfielder John Hitchman ’84 were named all-northwest conference.
Victor was chosen NAIA District II coach of the year.
Freshman Clay Arkless ’86 was off to a great start, with 10 goals through the first few games of the season, until he tore his ACL. While he was hospitalized, the team regularly trekked to Portland to visit him at St. Vincent Hospital.
“Perhaps this instilled more desire and passion for us to win,” O’Neil says.
As the season was coming to a close, the team needed to beat Northwest Nazarene to win the NAIA District II championship. Ten minutes into the second half, with the scored tied at 1-1, O’Neil received the first and only red card of his career. In soccer, a red card signals ejection from the game for a conduct violation or extreme foul.
“What was refreshing about it was that not one teammate gave me a bad time or let it affect their play. i think that was a defining moment of our season,” O’Neil recalls.
Instead, playing a man short, the team pulled out a crucial 2-1 victory. with 25 minutes to go, senior Chris Hall ’83 sent a perfect chip pass over a wall of defenders to a sprinting Clearman, who kicked the ball in for the winning goal.
The season concluded a couple weeks later when the team was eliminated from postseason play by eventual national champion Simon Fraser University. The Bearcats’ exploits, however, have not been forgotten. Throughout the years, the team’s ties to Willamette have grown as well.
After graduating, Schatz coached the Willamette junior varsity men’s team for a year and then moved over to help coach the women’s varsity team for four years. Hitchman was head coach of the wu women’s team in 1984. Clearman’s son, Cole ’14, recently spent two seasons playing soccer for the Bearcats. many of the players remain close friends even after 30 years.
Looking back at the 1982 season, Schatz explains that “the lessons we learned on the field directly translated to our personal lives and into the business world. in particular, they taught us discipline and a never-quit attitude.”
His teammates wouldn’t have expected anything less of each other.
Willamette began competing in men’s soccer as a club team in 1967, playing, among others, the University of Oregon, Oregon State, Portland State, Lewis & Clark, the University of Southern Oregon and Pacific University. As a club team, Willamette played games at Bush’s Pasture Park (fall) and McCulloch Stadium (spring). Men's soccer became a varsity sport in 1980.
Soccer, Culture and Competing Abroad
By Brandon Chinn ’13
The Willamette women had a successful soccer season last year, surprising many in the Northwest Conference. But for three rising seniors, another journey was about to begin.
Andi Rowan ’13, Ariel Wilson ’13 and Maddy Grainger ’13 each embarked on international experiences, studying abroad in several Spanish-speaking countries. They quickly discovered that the game they loved to play back home was not just a sport, but a way of life.
Rowan’s journey landed her in Granada, Spain, where she got quite a bit of field time. She played on a coed futsal team (futsal is like soccer, but it is typically played on a smaller field and often indoors), which played games on concrete. “I missed not being able to practice with my Willamette teammates, but it was a semester of soccer that I will never forget,” she says.
In Spain, she visited some of the greatest soccer venues in the world: Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid; and Camp Nou Stadium of FC Barcelona.
Rowan learned first-hand just how impactful the game can be overseas. “Being abroad strengthened my appreciation for soccer,” she says. “Soccer was constantly around me and I was reminded how important it is in my life — and in other people’s.”
Both Wilson and Grainger took independently organized trips to San José, Costa Rica, but were able to reunite once there. “Ariel and I hung out,” Grainger says. “We were in different places and meeting different people, so it was interesting to compare notes while being able to relax and vent.”
Looking back on her experience, Wilson was astounded at just how popular soccer is in Costa Rica. “The passion people have for the game is incredible,” she says. “It brings people together and gives them a reason to have pride in their team and their country. It gives them a reason to celebrate, socialize and enjoy each other.”
Wilson was unable to get field time herself. The small university she attended provided a select number of organized sports, and soccer was not one of them. “Not being able to play there made me feel very fortunate to be able to play with so many women at Willamette,” she says.
Not only was Grainger fortunate enough to find herself in a situation where she could play the game she loved, but she also experienced a great amount of success. She played on the University of Costa Rica women’s varsity team, which won both the Costa Rican championship and a gold medal at the Central American College Games (JUDUCA) during her time there.
She made an impact off the field, too, initiating a program for youth soccer in low-income neighborhoods in an effort to keep girls together and out of harm’s way. “I wanted to offer girls in the neighborhood an opportunity to have a constructive after-school activity that is of interest to many in their culture,” Grainger says.
By the time she left, there were 15 girls participating in the program. “I felt rewarded to receive such affection from my group of girls, many of whom didn’t even have shoes to play in. This was the hardest thing to leave behind.”
Returning home, Rowan, Wilson and Grainger are out to help the Bearcats improve on an already successful 10-5-1 NWC record from last season. And while the passion for the game might not be as amplified as it is abroad, these women are still aiming to take soccer at Willamette to new places.
Honors, Honors and More Honors for Dinsmore
It has been a year of athletic success and academic honors for recent graduate Jaela Dismore ’12, who concluded her Willamette career this spring as a studentathlete competing in track and field.
On the track, Dinsmore earned All-America recognition by placing fifth at the NCAA Division III Championships in the 100-meter dash with a personal record time of 11.95 seconds in the finals. She also took 11th place at the NCAA Championships in the 200-meter dash. She won individual Northwest Conference titles this spring at 100 meters and 200 meters.
She was also named First Team Capital One Academic All-America by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) this season. She received the NCAA Elite 89 Award for women’s track and field as the athlete with the highest cumulative GPA competing at the NCAA Championships.
While double-majoring in Latin American Studies and Spanish, Dinsmore managed a 3.99 cumulative GPA.
Additionally, she was chosen for membership in Phi Beta Kappa. After graduating, she was selected to receive a Fulbright grant to teach English in Colombia, South America.
Swadner Hired as Women's Basketball Coach
Peg Swadener is the new head coach of the Willamette women’s basketball team. Swadener joined the Bearcat coaching staff in July after serving as an assistant coach at Portland State University since 2007. She was the associate head coach at PSU during the past four years.
Overall, she has 15 years of experience as a collegiate coach at PSU, Boise State University, Idaho State University, the University of Oregon and Princeton University.
Bearcats to Host NCAA West Regional in Cross Country
Willamette has been selected to host the 2012 NCAA Division III Cross Country West Regional on Saturday, Nov. 10 in Salem. Athletes from throughout the West Coast and Colorado will be competing in a 6-kilometer women’s race and an 8-kilometer men’s race. The top teams and individuals will advance to the 2012 NCAA Division III Championships, set for Nov. 17 in Terre Haute, Ind.
The Bearcats, who have gained a reputation as one of the strongest cross country programs in the West, will be hosting the regional meet for the fifth time in 12 years.
For complete news coverage, remember to check Willamette.edu/athletics.