Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

From forward to defender


Former Molalla High School soccer player, Brenden Anderson, still in the game.

Brenden Anderson is on track for another great year playing Division 1 soccer for Oregon State University. Last year, he started all 18 games as a sophomore, and he’s on course to do so again this year.

The redshirt junior scored his first college goal last year against Gonzaga, but he said the goal he got earlier this year against Seattle his best moment on the field so far.

The game was in overtime, tied at 1 goal apiece. Anderson got a header off a cross kick. The “golden goal,” as it was called on OSU’s athletic website, gave OSU the 2-1 victory.

“[As a defender] I don’t get a lot of scoring chances, so I try to make the most of my opportunities,” Anderson said after the game.

But Anderson wasn’t always a defender. He attended Molalla High School, where he played as a forward.

“I was a goal scorer,” he said. He planned to continue in that role in college, but being a forward just wasn’t in his cards.

During his freshmen year they began transitioning him and adapting his style of play for defense.

“The transition was tough,” Anderson said. “I got discouraged ... It was tough to play a position I’d never played before.”

More than that, Anderson said he felt a little insulted. “I took it personally at first,” he said. “But then I realized that I have a better future as a defender. My skill set and mentality is suited for [that position].”

Off the field, Anderson is keeping busy, studying human development and minoring in psychology, but he intends to play soccer after college.

“I’ve put so much work into this—my whole life,” he said, adding that it would be a disappointment and a waste to not at least try to play professional soccer.

“At the same time, I’m realistic. It’s a goal though. It’s not totally out of the question.”

Ideally he’d like to play in the U.S., where professional soccer has gained momentum in the past few years.

“The MLS is getting bigger, with more big-name players,” Anderson said. This has in turn led to more competition and a better on-field product.

If he doesn’t find a club in the U.S., he’s not going to stop there though.

“The good thing about soccer is it’s played everywhere. There are a lot of possibilities. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.”

Just as he’s crossed multiple other bridges in his soccer career, a career that’s been full of valuable lessons.

“High school was good because it gave me an opportunity to grow as a leader,” he said.

He learned to be more vocal on the field and got the chance to play multiple positions, building him into a complete and well-rounded player.

For student athletes, he has a few pieces of advice: “If you believe you can do something, you can,” he said. “But don’t underestimate the amount of work and dedication it takes to do it.”

Anderson liked playing many sports as a kid, but before he entered high school, he stopped playing other sports and focused only on soccer. “I’m not saying all kids should do that, but I solely focused on soccer because that’s what I wanted to do.”

It wasn’t just his focus that got him on a Division 1 team though. His tenacity and positive attitude had a lot to do with it.

Anderson said he was told he probably didn’t have what it takes to play Division 1 soccer, but he stuck it out, put in the work and took chances.

“As for college recruiting, don’t be afraid to aim high,” he said. “It’s intimidating … but being confident is what it’s all about.”