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Thomas Jefferson HS striker has always had a nose for the goal
Brandon Madsen, Thomas Jefferson High School's (TJ) leading goal scorer the last two seasons, has always had a nose for the goal since he began playing soccer at age 5.
"My first ever soccer game, I played forward," Madsen said. "I was 5 years old and they didn't have goalies back then. So I scored five goals in my very first game. After I scored five goals, I knew what it was like to score, I felt it, it felt really good and it made me want to score more."
Madsen has continued his goal-scoring ways throughout his high school career, tallying 20 goals in all competitions last season. For this season, he's at 17 goals and 10 assists with two regular season games and the playoffs have yet to come. TJ's rich soccer tradition, with eight state titles and luminaries like the Sounders Lamar Neagle among the program's alumni, is something Madsen is well aware of when he steps onto the pitch.
"It's an honor, this school has a really good history," he noted.
In fact, Madsen has his name up next to Neagle's now, following a six-goal match recently against Kentlake.
"It's nice having my name up there in the records with Lamar Neagle," he said.
Madsen's coach, Dave Hanson, characterized his star striker as "humble" and a workhorse of a player.
"He leads by example. He's a very quiet young man. His demeanor is, 'I'll just go do my work.' He's kind of your business striker out on the field. He's a good player, he's a great high school player," Madsen said. "He's a big horse É I think he is a (Division) 1 player, just because of his size and his ability to score goals."
Madsen said he plans on attending Highline Community College next year, and then hopes to transfer to Gonzaga University and continue his soccer career. He plans on studying engineering, he said, in the hopes of becoming an architect.
For this season, as TJ looks to defend their state title from last year, Hanson said Madsen is a magnet for opposing defenses, which opens up opportunities for other players on the Raiders offense.
"He draws players to him and gets other guys open," Hanson said. "He's got 10 assists this year É He has more assists this year than he's had his previous three years. That just goes to show his ability to improve his game."
Hanson added that he doesn't think there's been a match yet this year where Madsen wasn't at least double-teamed, if not triple-teamed, at some point during the match.
"That's been the key to a lot of (opposing) teams this year, they're going to focus on him, but they're still not stopping him," Hanson said with a smile. "They really do focus on him, and look, he still has 17 goals and 10 assists while getting double and triple-teamed. He's doing all right for himself."
TJ's coach said that while this year's team isn't as adept at playing "pretty" this season, the goal is still to get to the playoffs, and hopefully make it two years in a row for the state title.
"We have eight state titles, nobody else is close. There's a little history there, if we get there, watch out," he said. "They're finding a way to get their business done."
TJ is currently in third place with 28 points in the SPSL North, behind Tahoma and Kentwood. If TJ wins out, and Tahoma and Kentwood slip up in the final two games of the regular season, TJ has a chance at another division title.
"We're playing pretty decent ball, we have some talent. We're not the best team on paper, we're not the best team in the state, but you put us in the playoffs, we can be the best team," Hanson said.
The Raiders will have played Auburn Riverside by press time (should be able to have result before Thurs), and will finish out the regular season at Auburn on Friday.