Thomas Jefferson soccer program has always taken pride in being a family on the field.
That “team-first” attitude has translated very well for the Raiders — to say the least. The TJ program has won a record seven big-school state boys soccer championships since the 1980s.
But this year, the family affair has taken a little more of a literal turn, especially at the top of the program, thanks to the presence of Dave, Tyler and Chase Hanson.
The Hansons are currently the first family of soccer at Jefferson. Dave Hanson took over the head coaching duties last year and inherited a roster that includes his two sons, senior Tyler and freshman Chase.
The Hanson threesome has translated into big wins this season for the Raiders. Jefferson currently sits 7-2-2 in the South Puget Sound League North Division, which is good for second place behind Kentwood (8-2-1), despite having several key players missing games because of injuries and other factors.
“It’s been pretty fun coaching my kids,” Dave Hanson said.
Coach Hanson made a huge sacrifice coming to Jefferson. Hanson was running an ultra-successful boys soccer program at Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines. Hanson’s Rams’ teams made consecutive trips to the Class 3A State Final Four in 2004 and 2005.
“It was pretty tough for me to step down there,” Dave Hanson said. “That was a great job and my alma mater. The only reason was to come watch my kids play.”
So Hanson resigned at Mount Rainier following the 2005 season to become a volunteer assistant coach at Jefferson under Darren Sawatzsky to watch his oldest son, Tyler, play. Sawatzsky eventually resigned after the 2006 season because his job as an assistant coach on the University of Washington’s men’s team was getting to be too big of a time commitment.
“I knew I would have a good chance to get the job,” Hanson said. “I did and we had a decent season last year.”
And the Raiders are rolling again this year and could clinch a berth into the SPSL Tournament with one win in their final three games of the regular season.
“We have just been manufacturing some wins,” Dave Hanson said. “Anything can happen if we get into the postseason. It’s fun.”
Both Tyler and Chase are also having fun taking orders from their father.
“It’s cool to play for him,” Tyler Hanson said. “I have a different mind than him and as a captain, I get to tell him how I feel. I don’t let that get in the way because he’s my dad. But there are some times, I did like having a different coach.”
Tyler Hanson is set to play soccer in the fall at Seattle University, but has appeared in only a handful of games this year because of injuries. Tyler, a center midfielder, has five goals and two assists this season.
Chase Hanson has already established himself as one of the best freshmen in the South Puget Sound League. The youngest Hanson plays in the middle of the field and is more of a defensive midfielder than his older brother.
“I really don’t see any freshmen better than Chase,” Dave Hanson said. “He should be first-team, All-SPSL this year and has done well all year.”
Chase is currently playing on the prestigious 16 and under Washington Premier FC select team, out of Tacoma. He currently has one goal and three assists for the Raiders this season. The three assists leads the team.
“(Tyler) really gives me some good advice,” Chase said. “He gives me a lot of encouragement.”
But they are brothers, who have spent their entire lives living under the same roof. So are there any disagreements out on the field?
“There have been a couple times that my dad has said, ‘You guys need to settle down,’” Tyler Hanson said. “It wasn’t that we were really fighting and punching each other. We are just going to say things to each other because we are brothers. Chase is a soccer player and he knows what he’s doing.”
“I guess there is some positive yelling,” said Chase Hanson. “Nothing negative, though.”
Dave Hanson also puts forth a concerted effort to treat his two sons like he treats the rest of the players on the Raiders’ roster. Something he doesn’t always see when fathers coach their kids.
“I’ve seen it so many times in the past,” Dave Hanson said. “I’ve seen coaches destroy their children. It’s a lot easier to take your son off the field and a lot easier to yell at your own kids. I always said that I’d never do that.
“But I do push them.”
Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, firstname.lastname@example.org