By AARON MANAGHAN
It’s not uncommon for young athletes to foster aspirations of taking their football, baseball or basketball games to the professional level. Olympic senior Cody Clark is one with such goals.
But rather than trying to hit homers, shoot three-pointers or rush for touchdowns, Clark is concerned with scoring goals.
The Olympic soccer standout, son of Mark and Cheryl Clark, took another step closer to achieving his dream Wednesday, signing to continue his career collegiately for Saint Martin’s University in Lacey.
“I am excited,” Clark said. “I definitely feel like I can be a big asset to the team. They’ve been looking for some forwards. Hopefully I can do my part.”
Clark, who counts players like Christiano Ronaldo and Ronaldino among his favorites, is hoping that playing collegiately will be a stepping stone to a bigger goal: playing professional soccer. Clark, who began playing soccer at 9 years old, said the goal took shape when he began playing select soccer for FC Kitsap Brumby and later for Emerald City FC, coached by Brian Schmetzer, the head coach of the Seattle Sounders.
“That was when I thought of this goal,” Clark said. “I want to play professional soccer. That’s my goal. I’m still working at it.”
With his signing, Clark said he’s as excited as ever to keep pursuing that goal.
“You have steps to your goals,” he said. “Once you get to another, it’s like you’re getting closer. Each time you get closer and closer, you get more excited.”
On the field, Clark is an offensive presence who opponents must respect, as evidenced by his 17 goals and six assists as a junior for Olympic, helping the Trojans, advancing to districts before being bounced by Hazen, the eventual state champions. Clark put in nine goals and two assists as a sophomore despite missing some time due to an ankle injury.
With this year being Clark’s last on the high school pitch, he’s determined to make it a memorable one.
“I’m very excited,” Clark said. “We should do really well this year. It’s my last year. I want to go all out.”
As for his past injuries, Clark said he feels great heading into Monday’s start date for spring sports.
“Every time that happened to me I always came back really strong,” he said.
While Saint Martin’s struggled to a 3-16-0 record last year in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, Clark said the team has dedicated coaches and is looking forward to getting the chance to play right away.
“It’s a small campus. I’ve heard it’s pretty good,” Clark said, adding that several of his friends have attended or currently attend the school. “The coaches were nice. And the team, the team’s not the best, but I’m sure I can be a great asset. It just seems like the right fit.”
With a faster-paced game, Clark said he’s looking forward to testing his skills against other similar players.
“Just the competition,” he said. “I’m really excited to play kids that are up on my level. It’s a good feeling to beat them too.”
Because the college is located just north of Olympia on I-5, Clark said the relatively close distance to home played into his decision.
“Whenever I want, I can just drive back, hang out with my parents and my friends,” he said. “I don’t have to fly back home from somewhere else.”
While his goals on the pitch are clear, Clark said he’s not too worried about going into college uncertain of what his major will be.
“I have no idea what I’m gonna study,” he said. “I’ll figure it out.”
Even though he’s unsure of what he’ll study, Clark is confident his teachers at Olympic have prepared him for whatever might come.
“Oly’s just been wonderful to me,” he said. “The school, the classes, the teachers are just great.”