Kubasaki Dragons senior holding midfielder Charlee Bodwell (11) has been named Stars and Stripes Pacific high school girls soccer Athlete of the Year.

Kubasaki Dragons senior holding midfielder Charlee Bodwell (11) has been named Stars and Stripes Pacific high school girls soccer Athlete of the Year. (Miranda Fino/Special to Stars and Stripes)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – Goal scorers might drive the Cadillacs, but often it’s the players who work behind the scenes who create those scoring opportunities and build those championship teams.

Take Charlee Bodwell, for example.

A senior who transferred from Amarillo, Texas, to Kubasaki, Bodwell was inserted at holding midfielder on the Dragons girls soccer team. She netted just two goals and two assists over the course of a 14-0-3 season in which the Dragons won the Okinawa district season series with Kadena and captured their second straight Far East Division I Tournament title.

Often, her contributions didn’t show up on the stat sheet: beating opponents to the point of attack, winning the 50-50 balls, distributing the ball to the center and outside mids, and allowing them to remain upfield to keep pressure on the opponent.

But, it’s those skills that netted Bodwell Far East D-I Tournament MVP honors as well as Stars and Stripes’ Pacific high school girls soccer Athlete of the Year.

Admittedly, Bodwell has been one to want to score goals, “but I guess that’s not who I am,” she said, adding that her first coach at age 10 told her she was “born midfielder.”

“That’s what a midfielder does, distribute the ball forward or backward, set up their teammates for goals. I think that’s just how I play. That’s who I am. And it worked out for us, thankfully.”

Chris Eastman, who became the first DODDS alumnus to win a Far East soccer tournament title as a player (Kadena, 1999) and a coach, said Bodwell permitted her teammates to “focus on what they did best.”

“Her strengths didn’t necessarily show on the scoreboard, but for other players who were a bit more aggressive offensively, had maybe a stronger shot or something like that, she allowed them to stay higher up the field to where we got goals as a team,” Eastman said.

It helped senior Marissa Mesquita finish with a team-high 15 goals. Kennady White pitched in with 10, 2014 Far East D-I Tournament MVP Alexis Townsend added nine and sophomore Reiko Lemasters, who transferred from Kadena, tallied seven and had a team-high five assists.

“Charlee kind of offset their defensive responsibilities to a certain degree, so they could thrive with what they did,” Eastman said. A veteran of travel ball in Texas and North Carolina, Bodwell called playing for a DODDS team overseas a “different” experience, but she was “very excited that I got to make an impact on Kubasaki. I probably wouldn’t have gotten an opportunity like this back in the States.”

Soccer honors Harleigh Lewis (goalkeeper), Charlee Bodwell (MVP), Marissa Mesquita, Kubasaki; Andrea Carandang, Osan; Megan Hurley, Zama; Charla Johnson, Kiralyn Kawachi, Kinnick; Sarah Cronin, Sarah Claypool, Yokota; Bobbi Hill, Perry; Kat Johnson, ASIJ. Twitter @ornauer_stripes

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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