Back row (l-r): Coach Michael Moen, Coach Jesse Heinle, Coach Euticio Montelongo
2nd Row (l-r): Kailey Moen, Katharine Whitman, Korie Wyckoff, Jada Stevenson, Avery Heinle, Dantzel Petersen, Jessica Caffrey, Isabella Montelongo, Piper Lukas, Brianna Garfias, Zoe Orvald
Seated (l-r): Adysen Burns, Sydney Remsberg
Thingamajigs’ Team-First Philosophy Has Led
To Happy Players, Championship Teams
For Jesse Heinle’s U12 girls recreational team, “Thingamajigs” isn’t just a name — it’s a philosophy.
“You can’t classify a ‘thingamajig’ — it’s just a bunch of separate pieces, all coming together. No one thingamajig is better than any other; they’re all equal. They’re just ‘thingamajigs,’” he says. “That’s exactly how we’ve always been as a team.”
In December, Heinle’s Thingamajigs completed a seven-year journey through the recreational soccer ranks with a victory in the finals of the 2012 Sports Authority Recreational Cup — their first-ever appearance in the state recreational championship.
For Heinle and co-coach Michael Moen, it was a fitting end to a journey that began when his young players — including Heinle’s youngest daughter, Avery — were in kindergarten, and will likely end next fall when they head off to play on middle school and junior high school teams.
Of the 13 Thingamajigs, 10 currently attend the same school, while most have been together since that first kindergarten-age team.
Heinle says that the secret to the Thingamajigs success — including titles in the 2011 Apple Cup and 2012 Mid-Summer Classic, and frequent tournament victories over Select-level teams — is the team’s selfless attitude.
“Everyone gets equal playing time, and every kid plays every position, including goalie,” he says. “We have one of the best goalies in Yakima, and she doesn’t even play goalie.”
And that, Heinle says, speaks to another important component — the parents’ buy-in to that team-first philosophy.
“Her parents have paid for special goalkeeping training for her, but that’s just not our philosophy to play someone in just one spot like that at this age,” he says. “Our team is about staying together, and having fun, and our parents have all supported that. We have zero drama, which makes it really enjoyable.”
It’s a formula more teams may want to emulate. In addition to winning the Sports Authority Recreational Cup this year, the Thingamajigs scored 87 goals in league play while allowing just two — despite having no designated “strikers” or “defenders,” and with a roster comprised almost entirely of players from the same Yakima middle school.
“These girls have been together for so long, having played with each other since kindergarten, that they’ve developed great chemistry,” Heinle says. “They are all athletic, but it’s more about the way they work together and their attitude. They have fun together, and that’s translated into winning.”