As a striker, Joe Hanson’s job on the field is to get goals, but he doesn’t keep a tally.
“I don’t really keep track,” said Hanson. “(I get) a decent amount, I guess.”
The Whitehorse soccer player has been booting in goals for Nike Crossfire Premier, a Redmond, Washington-based team, this past season.
With the help of Hanson, Crossfire won the Washington State Championships in May. The team is currently ranked eighth in under-12 in the national rankings and fifth in regional standings.
“It’s amazing to get to play for a team at this level,” said Hanson.
“They’re a really good team. They’re one of the biggest clubs in the U.S.”
Hanson, who also plays for the Yukon Strikers rep team, doesn’t compete for Crossfire during the regular season but travels with the team for major events.
His spot on the team came about in a fortuitous way.
“I was guest-playing for a team in Alaska and their coach (Troy Letherman) actually coaches for Crossfire now. So when he went to Crossfire they needed a player for a tournament and I guess he suggested me,” said Hanson. “So I got to play with them at San Diego Surf Cup and I’ve been able to play with them since.”
Crossfire went undefeated to win the Washington State Championships for U12 at the end of April and early May. Hanson scored a goal in the semi to help the team reach the final where they defeated Seattle United 4-0.
It marked Hanson’s third straight state title with the club, having been a part of the U10 state champion team two years ago and the U11 champion team last season.
As state champions the team went onto the U.S. Region IV Presidents Cup where they lost in the quarterfinal to California’s Albion SC mid-May.
Crossfire has also had success in international play, tying for third in the Manchester City FC Americas Cup in Oceanside, Calif., at the end of May.
They lost 2-0 to the Tijuana Xolos from Mexico’s pro academy before tying the San Jose Earthquakes 2-2 in the bronze match on a late-game goal from Hanson.
“The funnest part this summer was winning state. That was pretty cool,” said Hanson.
The team punches above their weight in other tournaments. This past weekend they reached the U14 final of the Delta Crossfire Challenge in Redmond. Crossfire went undefeated in four matches, with Hanson scoring three goals along the way, before losing 2-0 to Seattle United in the final.
Crossfire and Hanson will next head to the San Loco Surf Cup in San Diego in August and then – this is a big one – Madrid Football Cup U14 tournament in Spain this September.
“I’ll just keep playing for them for a while.… I definitely want to play professional soccer, but at this point I’m just playing for Crossfire,” said Hanson, 12. “I’m just staying a kid right now. I’m not looking too far up the highway.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org