Senior Chase Whittaker started playing soccer when he was just 5 years old. Although he followed for many years in his father’s footsteps, focusing his athletic career on baseball, Whittaker let his love for soccer take over in the 7th grade. He hasn’t stopped loving it since, and this year marks his 4th and final year with the Archbishop Murphy Wildcats’ varsity boys soccer team.
Under head coach Mike Bartley, Whittaker is utilized across the field. “In high school I end up playing all across the board,” he commented, “a little defensive mid, outside mid, and sometimes even forward.” It was for his role as outside back on his Rush club team however, that he got recruited to play soccer at the collegiate level by Linfield College.
“My mom always told me to pick a school I would want to stay at if for some reason I had to stop playing soccer,” Whittaker said of his decision to commit to Linfield. The team at Linfield is currently restructuring after losing a big senior class, and Whittaker saw this as an opportunity to hopefully play some freshman minutes. He says he’s always looked forward to the intensity and speed of collegiate ball.
Although winning 2 state championships with the AMHS team ranks pretty high on Whittaker’s list of favorite soccer memories, his biggest inspiration comes from two different sources. “I think the game we played against Shorecrest after Kristi had passed away was probably the most inspirational moment of my soccer career. I’ll never forget the magic and the passion on the field that night,” he told me. Kristi Bartz, a captain of the girls soccer team and a prominent member of the AMHS community, was killed in a tragic accident in May 2015. Whittaker’s other source of inspiration is his late aunt, who he said was a,”born athlete and always challenging [him] to step out of [his] comfort zone.” She passed away from ovarian cancer just a few years ago.
You can see Chase Whittaker in action with the Wildcats for the last time this season as they chase a third consecutive state championship. So far this season the team is 1-0, beating East Valley this past Saturday 1-0.