Seaside, Astoria soccer players join forces for 2005 winter teamThey're Strikers - every one of them. Talent. Natural ability. Teamwork. They hit the field like a loaded charge of TNT.

They were high school rivals in the fall, but when the 2005 winter Classic soccer season rolled around, the best Seaside and Astoria players joined forces to create one of the most powerful boys soccer teams the North Coast has produced.

"This is the first year in a long time the kids have come together," said Astoria High School coach Jerry Boisvert about the Strikers, the Lower Columbia Youth Soccer Association's Under-19 boys team, which ended its regular season with nine wins and one loss.

Because he was the high school coach, Boisvert was ineligible to coach the team. Veteran Seaside girls soccer coach Dave Rouse stepped in.

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Nate Pogue, right, rushes to the ball against Tualatin Hills player Spencer Hopping (12) in the final game of the regular winter Classic soccer season. At left is Kevin Speer."It's a fantastic team," Rouse said. "I got to pick kids from both schools and put together a strong team."

"They're a great combination of players," Boisvert said of the boys ages 15 to 18. "It excites me to see kids want to represent their club, not just their high school."

Dropping their school colors - red and white for Seaside, purple and gold for Astoria - the Strikers instead wear the LCYSA's blue and yellow, familiar to hundreds of families and spectators who have watched their kids develop skills and friendships on the Warrenton soccer fields.

"The rivalry goes away when they're on the same team," said Katherine Kahl, mother of All-State Astoria goalkeeper Henry Brause and back-up keeper Matt Brause. "There's some sort of camaraderie."

In the netDuring action March 13, All-State Seaside forward and Cowapa League MVP Nate Pogue dribbled downfield and crossed to Astoria's Micah Schauermann.

Schauermann crossed to Pogue. Zing. A sharp shot ripped past the Tualatin Hills keeper.

Romanian transplant Denis Larion slid a penalty kick into the goal.

Matt Brause, filling in for his injured brother, pulled a deadly shot out of the air.

"Hey Henry, you've been replaced," coach Rouse laughed as he yelled across the field.

'Balanced'"It's a balanced team," Boisvert said. "They take a lot of chances - push up all the time and score a lot of goals." In fact, the Strikers scored 55 goals during the regular season.

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The Strikers pose for a team photo after the March 13 win to seal the regular season championship. Front row from left , Denis Larion, Peter Springer, Antionio Alcantar, Jon Wedell and Kevin Speer. Back row, from left, Nate Pogue, Kyle McMullen, Kevin Dugan, coach Dave Rouse, Luke McAllister, Rember Garcia, Micah Schauermann, Perry Broderick, Jesse Hinton, Mathias Brause and assistant coach Kevin Speer."We have really good defense and a lot of players who can play offense," said Tony Alcantar as he sat on the sidelines with mononucleosis.

Defenders Rember Garcia, All-District Jose "Cowboy" Garcia and Alcantar proved too much for their opponents' offense most of the season, but when they were out with illnesses, other players - Jon Wedell, Kevin Speer, Kyle McMullen and German foreign-exchange student Peter Springer stepped in. The Strikers only allowed eight goals to be scored against them during the entire regular season.

Filling in the gaps at various positions were All-State players Jose Cruz and Perry Broderick, All-League player Jesse Hinton, Kevin Dugan and Luke McAllister.

"There's no tribalism," said Seaside High School boys soccer coach Jon Broderick.

"They pass the ball around. They aren't selfish," Boisvert said.

Pogue to Schauermann, Rember Garcia to Pogue, Schauermann to Speer, Broderick to Springer.

Game SchedulePresident's Cup Schedule

4 p.m. Saturday - Strikers vs. Rogue Valley Keltics at LCYSA field in Warrenton

Noon Sunday - Strikers vs. Tualatin Hills Gold at LCYSA field in Warrenton

2 p.m. April 10 - Strikers vs. Cascade FC Orange at McCulloch Stadium in Salem

April 16 - Semifinals at Tualatin Hills Rec. Club

April 17 - Finals at Tualatin Hills Rec. Club"We're all really close," said Hinton. "There isn't anybody who doesn't get along with each other."

Winning is different"It's unique" to see LCYSA winning, said Lita Hinton, Jesse's mother.

"When we got started, we were on the losing end," said Mark Brause, father of Henry and Matt. After many so-so seasons, it was good to see the kids come back together and excel, he said.

Many of the Strikers moved up through the ranks of LCYSA, often playing and traveling on the same teams. Hinton, Broderick, Pogue, the Brause brothers, Schauermann and Wedell all spent many seasons on the club's fields.

"This is like a reunion for them," Jon Broderick said. "They grew up playing together. They can celebrate and enjoy the game together."

"You can't discount the coaching of Jerry Boisvert and Jon Broderick," said Mark Brause of the boys' high school coaches. "The Seaside boys excelled under Broderick, and Jerry's just great. Coach Rouse put the team together and pointed them in the right direction."

"I always thought if Astoria and Seaside put their best players together, they'd do really well," Pogue said. After traveling to the Portland area for six Classic seasons, he said it's nice not to have to travel so much. "This is definitely fun," he said.

Parents, players and coaches agreed the winter season has been a great way for the seniors to come together and experience one last soccer season.

Watch them this weekendThe Strikers begin action Saturday in the President's Cup tournament, which will cap off the winter season. Coach Rouse said all his players are back with the exception of Henry Brause, who is out with a knee injury. He has added two younger players, Will Clark and Alfredo Garcia, for this tournament.

The Strikers play Saturday and Sunday at the LCYSA field in Warrenton and will continue April 10 in Salem, with semifinals and finals April 16 and 17 at the Tualatin Hills Rec Club.