In my six years on the sidelines, I have seen the Camas High School soccer teams achieve some pretty amazing feats.
Remember back in 2005-06, when the girls and boys both captured state soccer championships in the same school year? I do. It was my first year as the sports reporter for the Post-Record.
Fast forward five years, and not much changed. The Papermaker girls and boys soccer teams both placed third in state. The girls reached the quarterfinals again this past fall, and the boys are on their way to the quarterfinals Saturday.
The mastermind behind all of this is head coach Roland Minder.
On Tuesday at Doc Harris Stadium, the Camas boys delivered Minder his 250th victory when they defeated Shorecrest 3-0 in the first round of the state tournament. The Papermakers blew the number-two ranked team in the state away with three goals in the final 16 minutes of the game.
“I never won a single game. It was guys like you,” Minder said to the team in the locker room after the game. “You guys played the best game of the season, and it was so beautiful to watch.”
Minder loves to win and he hates to lose. It’s the reason he will drive hundreds of miles across the state to scout teams before the next big Camas game. Minder also loves his town. He once told me the best part of winning any coaching award is that it says the words “Camas, Washington.”
The first time I interviewed Minder was in 2001, after the Camas boys lost to Mercer Island in overtime in the state quarterfinals. I was just getting my start at The Columbian, and I knew nothing about Camas. I even had to ask Minder how to spell his name. Probably not the best way to break the ice.
Little did I know that less than five years later, I would be driving out to Camas every day and interviewing Minder on a regular basis. I have learned so much about soccer since that day 10 years ago, and it is because of Minder. He still hates to lose, but if you ask the right questions, he has some amazing stories to tell.