I know I've played at higher levels and I've played with really, really great players, but there was just a feeling, a vibe that you got here at Viewmont and it really made me realize my passion for the sport. —Lucas Cawley
BOUNTIFUL — Lucas Cawley has traveled the world playing soccer.
At just 18 years old, he has already trained in England with the Fulham and Southampton soccer clubs, played internationally as a four-time member of the Olympic Development Program and has attended two different MLS academies.
And still, some of Cawley's greatest soccer memories are of when he donned his cardinal red and gold uniform to represent the Viewmont Vikings as a typical student-athlete.
For the recent graduate, it all came down to school pride.
"I've really never wanted anything more than to win here and play for my school," he said. "I know I've played at higher levels and I've played with really, really great players, but there was just a feeling, a vibe that you got here at Viewmont and it really made me realize my passion for the sport."
That passion, along with the work he put in throughout all of his soccer endeavors, have put Cawley in a class of his own. For that reason, he has been named the 2014 Deseret News Mr. Soccer.
"Anything that is associated with Viewmont soccer, any award that comes from it, is going to be one of the most memorable," he said of being named Mr. Soccer, "because (Viewmont) just meant so much to me."
Cawley started playing soccer as young kid when his dad, Todd, who also played at Viewmont, began running him through drills in their backyard. As he grew, so did his interest in the sport, and so did the number of playing opportunities that began to pop up.
With the support of his dad and mom, Cheryl, and his younger brother, Logan, Cawley continued to ride those adventures wherever they would take him, including to three different high schools in four years. After concluding is freshman year at Viewmont, during which he started varsity for coach Dave Wigham, Cawley attended the Real Salt Lake Academy in Casa Grande, Arizona, his sophomore year and then the Portland Timbers Academy in Portland, Oregon, his junior year before returning home to graduate from Viewmont.
"I had a great time at the academies," Cawley said of the unique experience. "I learned a lot of things that are helpful to me in my soccer career and my development. I then decided to come back my senior year, and it's the best decision I've made up to this point."
Wigham was pleased with his return as well.
"We had 10 guys coming back that started as juniors. I was looking for that one extra guy," he said. "During the summer, someone said to me, 'Lucas is coming back.' I just said, 'Nah, that would be a fairy tale. That's not going to happen.'"
Cawley, a 5-foot-8 midfielder, stepped right into that 11th spot and into a leadership role. He scored eight goals and dished out more than 20 assists during his senior season. He said the team helped him feel as if he had never left. Wigham said the team took on a new determination with him in the lineup.
During the two seasons Cawley was missing from the lineup, the Vikings compiled a record of 21-9-3 and did not make it past the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state tournament. During his freshman and senior seasons, however, Viewmont was 32-2-3. Cawley's only two losses in a Vikings uniform were both in the 5A semifinals, both to the eventual champions, Alta in 2011 and Riverton in 2014.
"The kids worked harder this year because they didn't want to let him down," Wigham said.
With high school soccer now in the rearview mirror, Cawley looks to blaze another trail. With offers to play collegiately all around the country, this time he opted to stay home. He has committed to play on the first ever men's soccer team at Utah Valley University for his former ODP coach Greg Maas.
"I'm more than excited to be making history," he said. "I know anything we do this whole entire year is going to be the first. I feel like we can go out there and shock people, and be the first to do it."
Cawley, an A-student in high school, has a full plate outside of soccer, volunteering time serving athletes with disabilities as well as at a senior citizens center. And while he remains focused on academics and will enter college working toward a degree in business, some of his long term goals still remain out on the soccer field.
"My ultimate goal is being a professional someday," he said. "I've learned already in my soccer career, you don't really ever know how you're going to get there, you just take what you're given, but I'm going to keep striving to do that."
Wigham has no doubt that whatever Cawley attempts to do, he will continue to find success.
"As good as he is on the field, he's an even better person off," Wigham said. "And he's really good on."
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.