I got a chance to catch up with Mount Rainier boys soccer coach Jerry Capadanno, whose Rams lost to Glacier Peak, 2-1, in overtime in the Class 3A state finals last week.
Capadanno and his Mount Rainier team left Harry E. Lang Stadium in Lakewood quickly after the loss, which was extra tough considering it was the only loss of the season for a perennially powerful team from Des Moines with 14 seniors.
Capadanno said he didn’t sleep for two nights after the game, not out of disappointment over the loss but rather over the rush he felt over the Rams’ playoff run and near miss in the finals.
“I was so full of adrenaline, I couldn’t sleep,” Capadanno said.
Mount Rainier, playing its final season in 3A before moving up to 4A in the fall, defeated high-powered Camas in the semifinals to get into the title game against Glacier Peak. A goal in the second overtime gave the Grizzlies the title in only their second season as a program.
“I wouldn’t be coaching if I was afraid of losing,” said Capadanno. “You coach because you love the game. You love to be around the kids and watch them grow. You have goals. You push them to the maximum. You leave it on the field. To me, that’s the most important part of this whole thing.”
Mount Rainier, state champions in 1987, ’88, ’89 and ’91 and state runners-up in ’95 and ’04, had its best finish in six seasons. Eight seniors will continue their soccer careers in college, including Darwin Jones (Seattle University) and Chris Chu (Saint Martin’s).
Capadanno said he has known most of his players since watching them play youth soccer at the age of 6 or 7. He said the bus ride back to Des Moines after the loss reinforced why he remains a coach.
“If you were on that bus … all the hugging each other … I tell you what, that’s the best,” Capadanno said. “You can call me sentimental or emotional, whatever you want to call me. To me, what happened on that bus, that’s winning.
“I know the kids don’t feel as much as (the way) I do right now. But they will. Somebody’s got to lose. But I tell you what. They’re both winners. It (the season) was just awesome.”