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Bremerton High School soccer co-captains Olson and Chastain have chemistry on, off field
Eli Chastain and Matt Olson have already shared plenty.
The field at Bremerton Memorial Stadium for the past four seasons. Duties as co-captains of the Bremerton High School boys soccer team this season. The joy of winning a league title for what is believed to be the first time in school history, a feat they accomplished last week.
They also share common interests — comedy television, outdoor activities and girls, among others.
And in about three months, the duo will share something else.
A dorm room.
“I don’t like it when rooms are dirty,” Chastain said. “That’s probably my biggest pet peeve.”
Meet your new roommate, Olson. Hope you’re tidy.
The senior leaders of the Bremerton soccer team will share a dorm room this fall at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, where they plan to play soccer.
It will be a natural transition, Chastain and Olson predict, because they have grown to trust each other through soccer. They understand one another’s tendencies on the field, and that chemistry has carried into life off the field.
But before they leave Bremerton, Chastain and Olson hope to lead the Knights (10-2-3) to the state tournament for the first time since 1991. They are one win away from accomplishing that mission, with Bremerton playing a loser-out, winner-to-state game Saturday.
“We are already cool with each other from these past years, so it will be easy on us,” Olson said. “I can rely on him not only on the field, but as a roommate too.”
The decision to room together began with Olson approaching Chastain after Olson had been accepted into the school. Chastain had yet to decide on college plans, so he figured it was worth trying despite the fact he knew little about the school.
When he received the acceptance letter a short time later, the decision was easy.
“I got in and was like, ‘OK, cool,’” Chastain said.
Although the friends share much in common — their favorite television show is “Family Guy” — not everything about them is the same.
Chastain admits he is a procrastinator, Olson claims to be organized. Olson is an early riser and has never shared a room with anyone, Chastain roomed with his older sister as a child. Chastain will study education, Olson accounting.
Neither Olson nor Chastein are on a soccer scholarship, meaning they must earn roster positions by walking on at Saint Martin’s.
Walk-ons participate in what is essentially an open try out and are either selected to the team or cut.
The soon-to-be roommates agree that playing soccer would enhance their college experience, though they also understand there is more to college than sports.
“If I didn’t make the soccer team, it wouldn’t be a huge deal,” Chastain said. “But I’d really like to play soccer because I’ve played my whole life. It would be kind of hard to just stop.”
Soccer has been a large part of both athletes’ lives since they were children.
Chastain discovered the sport, somewhat accidently, when he was 6 years old. He was a high-energy child and both he and his mother figured sports would be a good avenue for him to expend his energy.
First a forward then a defender, he made his way though the youth ranks and became a member of the West Sound Academy “B” Team.
“I was really high maintenance, I guess my mom would say,” Chastain said. “I was bouncing off the walls so she decided to put me in a sport.”
Olson, meanwhile, started playing soccer when he was 10.
He was a member of the West Sound “A” Team, a rank above the B team, and met Chastain in seventh grade at Mountain View Middle School.
They became teammates as freshmen at Bremerton in 2007.
In 2006 the soccer program didn’t include a junior varsity team, meaning there was little depth in the program. That allowed both Chastain and Olson to gain varsity experience right away.
The team struggled when they were freshmen and sophomores.
Olson suffered an injury as a sophomore, sidelining him much of the season. As a junior, however, he scored an Olympic League-high 23 goals to go with 11 assists and was an all-league player as a forward.
He moved to midfield this season in a shift coach Randy Lund made to help the team’s offense.
“Being the unselfish kind of guy he is, he stepped into midfield and we started playing better,” Lund said.
Chastain, on the other hand, has emerged as the team’s best defender in the sweeper position.
He is the last line of defense in front of the goal, and it’s his job to stop the opposition’s scoring attacks. Chastain played an important role in Bremerton’s 2-0 win over North Kitsap High School May 6, when the Knights clinched the league title.
“Eli has been our anchor back there all season,” Lund said.
The college-bound duo is a large reason the Knights are having perhaps their best season in school history and are headed to Class 3A West Central District III tournament as a No. 2 seed. The team will play either Enumclaw High School or White River High School at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ingersoll Stadium in Olympia.
The winner advances to the 3A state tournament.
“Our goal is to take the team to state,” Chastain said. “And when we get to state, just take it game by game.”
Did you know?
The Bremerton High School boys soccer team has not advanced to the state tournament since 1991, when it was eliminated in the first round by O’Dea High School, 2-0.
The team also qualified in 1990, but it was knocked out in the first round by Bellingham High School, 3-0.