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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018 9 months ago

The Lions’ Chase: Luke Chase leads Foundation Academy | Observer Preps

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A senior captain on the boys soccer team, Chase takes over in his last year on the pitch for the Lions.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

Every time Luke Chase and the Foundation Academy Lions take to the field, the outcome is all but assured.

As the Lions’ defense shuts down opposing teams, Chase and his friends up front push through and dominate without hesitation.

The offensive onslaught brought fourth by the Lions is enough to make you do a double take when you look at the stat lines. And that success, Chase said humbly, is thanks to team effort.

“The team as a whole are gelling quite well together,” Chase said. “Our first game together was a tough loss against Orangewood, but for a lot of us, it was our first time playing together as a team. Ever since then, we’ve been working hard trying to gel, and ever since, we’ve been doing quite well.”

Although that preseason game against the Rams doesn’t show on the record books, it was the early fuel that stoked Chase’s fire. Since then, the senior captain and his team have done more than just “quite well.” Outside of a 1-1 tie in the opener against Master’s Academy, Chase has helped lead the way to six straight wins for the Lions — who have outscored opponents six-to-one-half per game.

A big part of that goal discrepancy is Chase’s golden boot, which has contributed 11 goals. His scoring is followed up by teammate Ian Garcia, who has found the net 10 times. Although he is only eight games into this season, Chase is only three goals from matching last season’s output of 12.

And although goals look impressive on paper, Chase’s soccer-playing abilities go beyond his ability to score. His spacing and field awareness have led him to being the ultimate assist man on the field, said head coach Josh Mansingh.

“It’s fun watching him play,” Mansingh said. “The reason he has so many assists is because he isn’t selfish. Even though he can score, he’s willing to make the easier pass for the team to score. That’s what makes him an effective leader.”

Chase’s nine assists lead the team by a landslide, and it’s one of the reasons why Mansingh tapped him as the team’s only captain for this season. 

Even though Chase served as team co-captain during his junior season last year, this new role is a bit more than what he had been used to. 

Now, instead of having someone else to help, the weight of being the team’s leader comes solely down to him. It’s something that is difficult in some aspects — requiring him to keep his composure during tough times — but also provides its own rewards.

“I would say the biggest part is being encouraging in every aspect, so whether it’s a bad shot or a bad pass, just say, ‘That’s unlucky, you’ll get it next time,’” Chase said. “Don’t fill their mind with doubt in themselves, but just encourage them and help them find that self-confidence.”

“The team is like another family — it’s been a great experience and they welcomed me in."

— Luke Chase

Chase has come quite a way as a soccer player for Foundation, especially when you consider he came to the school looking to play football.

Although he had played soccer as a kid for several years, Chase had gotten out of the sport for a few years before coming back to The Beautiful Game back in middle school.

As a homeschooled student, Chase was looking to play sports, and that’s when a friend told him to go try out for the Lions’ football program. Then, three years ago, he decided to try out for soccer. From there, he shifted his focus to the pitch.

“The team is like another family — it’s been a great experience and they welcomed me in,” Chase said.

Since joining on with the team, Chase has also picked up playing time at GGS Soccer Academy in Orlando. But instead of scoring goals for his club team, he’s doing the polar opposite.

As a center-back, Chase keeps pace with attacking players as he stands as the last line of defense before opposing teams get to the goalie. Ironically, his time playing at a defensive position has been a net positive for his game at Foundation.

“That actually helps me a lot here at Foundation, because I get to see what defenders are going to do, because I am that defender most of the time,” Chase said. “It gives me kind of an advantage in some ways.”

The versatility of playing on both sides of the ball have helped bump Chase’s game up in a big way, which is exactly what he will need if he wants to accomplish his goal after graduating — to play at the collegiate level.

“It’s a dream for me,” Chase said. “I love this sport and everything about it. Of course, the practices are hard, and I want  to say it’s easy every day, but it’s not — it’s what I love.”

Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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