State’s most successful soccer program? Bellarmine Prep tries to find consistency first

So what’s it like playing for Bellarmine Prep’s boys soccer team?

“As soon as you start playing , you can feel it — every school you go to, the fans are heckling you and you know the players want to beat you,” senior defender Tommy Martin said.

“It’s like we’re fresh meat.”

And that was amplified this season with Bellarmine — the largest private school in the state — joining a new conference, entering the 4A South Puget Sound League.

But there’s another feeling of playing for Bellarmine that senior forward Kyle Casey explained.

“With Bellarmine and the alumni and the fan base we have, you get the sense that you’re playing for something bigger than yourself,” he said. “I know that has motivated me and has motivated other players on this team.”

No school in the state of Washington that has at least one state title — in any classification — has more appearances in the state boys soccer tournament than Bellarmine Prep’s 29. So this year’s Lions, led by 12 seniors, are hoping to make Bellarmine the first school in the state to reach the WIAA’s pinnacle tournament 30 times.

But to do that, the eighth-ranked Lions have to beat Mount Rainier in a winner-to-state, loser-out game in the 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

Twenty of Bellarmine’s state appearances have come under the guidance of Joe Waters, the native of Limerick, Ireland, and former member of the Irish national team.

Asked what it’s like playing for the 63-year-old former…

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