Nov. 8, 2012
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -
By CHRIS CHANCELLOR, Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer
He won't become the rare athlete who graduates with high school and college championships.
But as he did at South Kitsap, Justin Moore will leave a legacy when he finishes his biology degree this spring at Western Washington University.
For years, the Vikings' men's soccer program has played their home matches at nearby Whatcom Community College. That situation has hindered Western when it comes to fan support and recruiting against schools with better facilities.
Coach Travis Connell said the program has raised more than $5 million during the last three years to build an on-campus facility. The ground breaking for that complex is scheduled for this spring, and Connell said Moore will be a significant reason behind that.
"He's one of the hardest workers on the field, he's fantastic in the classroom and he's instrumental in student government helping with our new stadium project on campus," he said. "He's made a huge impact on Western soccer."
The facility project perhaps best embodies what Moore, who scored his seventh goal of the season Oct. 28 during a 5-1 win at Saint Martin's University, brings to the program: selflessness.
After his freshman season, Moore's coaches asked him to switch to defender. When the Vikings graduated a large senior class last fall, Connell requested that Moore return to his traditional position.
"We graduated a ton of scoring last year," Connell said. "We asked him to go back up top because he had experience with that when he was younger.
"He'll do whatever it takes to help a team out. Those guys are rare."
Connell said Moore's athleticism and speed made him a prime candidate to play multiple positions. Moore, who played forward when he guided South to its first boys state soccer championship as a senior in 2009, called the move "a great learning experience."
"It was really interesting utilizing [my speed] in the back," said Moore, who is a captain at Western after serving in that role during his final two seasons with the Wolves. "I feel I rarely ever got beat and I was able to get up to attack on the sidelines."
He just is happy that his skill set was not affected when he fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot midway through his freshman season.
"I got kicked on the top of my foot," Moore said. "I kept playing for a little. The next morning, I couldn't walk."
He said doctors first prescribed rest, but when the foot did not heal, they performed surgery and inserted "a pretty good-sized pin."
Moore has remained healthy since then, but still finds himself spending plenty of time at Saint Joseph's Medical Center in Bellingham, where he works as a scribe at the hospital's emergency and trauma center. A pre-med student who maintains a 3.62 grade-point average, Moore describes working in that area as an illuminating experience.
"You see so many normal people at their worst," he said. "It's your job to help them."
Even as Moore's playing career at Western -- he played too much as a freshman to be eligible for a redshirt -- concludes, he hopes to continue playing while working toward becoming a doctor.
The Vikings' season ended Nov. 4 with a 3-0 loss at Simon Fraser. They finished with an 8-8-2 overall record and 6-6-2 mark in conference play.
"We started off really well and went on the road and dropped some important games," Moore said. "That's really hurt us in the long run."
After he graduates, Moore said he might return to Kitsap County. He and Kitsap Pumas coach James Ritchie, who guided the Wolves in 2010-11, have discussed the possibility of him playing for the semipro soccer team. Moore said he also could remain in Bellingham, where he could continue playing while deciding his specialty.
"That is a long-term goal," he said, referring to becoming a doctor. "It would be fun to keep doing both as I grow."