JASON BOYCE

Steve Virgen

Every morning before Jason Boyce went to Corona del Mar High, he fed

a hunger at Eastbluff Park.

Boyce had a strong love for soccer and, alone, he would dribble

across the grass fields and kick the ball into a goal. He would

sweat. He would run. He would smile.

"I used to get there at 6 a.m.," Boyce said. "I practically lived

over there."

At many times in Boyce's life he has looked back on those days at

Eastbluff and realized his secluded soccer experience refined his

game and allowed him to enjoy the results, as well.

While Boyce was at CdM, he earned a spot on the 17-and-under

national team and his efforts also brought him a scholarship to play

at the University of Washington. His career also includes

All-American honors and a stint as a professional in Major League

Soccer.

"It was proof that hard work pays off," Boyce said. "I always

wanted to play for the national team. And, I wanted to get that

scholarship for my parents, more for my parents than me."

Boyce earned All-Sea View League honors in each of his four

varsity seasons. As a 5-foot-7 forward, Boyce dazzled opponents with

his ball-handling skills, speed and deft maneuvering across the

field. Yet for all the notoriety and success he earned on the field,

Boyce took great pleasure in the atmosphere that surrounds the game.

He enjoyed the preparation and held a great admiration and respect

for his teammates and opponents.

"Oh boy," said Boyce before he started to discuss his high school

memories. "It has been almost 10 years. I really liked the intense

rivalry between us and Newport Harbor. Saddleback was a rival and

Santa Margarita, too, when they were in our league. Those times were

great."

In addition to soccer, Boyce also starred in track and field,

qualifying for the CIF Southern Section preliminaries in the 100 and

200 meters and the long jump. As a senior, Boyce reached the state

finals in the long jump and the state preliminaries in the 100.

After establishing himself as one of the greatest soccer players

to compete at CdM, Boyce went on to make a name for himself at

Washington. He was second-team All-American as a senior and led the

Huskies in scoring with 15 goals and two assists. He finished his

career as the Huskies' all-time assist leader with 34 and ranked

fourth in total points with 106. He was also named Mountain Pacific

Sports Federation Mountain Division Player of the Year in 1997 and

1998.

He helped lead the Huskies to three-straight NCAA tournament

appearances, a school record.

"It was fun," Boyce said of his time in Seattle. "It was a really

great experience."

In February of 1998 Boyce was selected 11th overall in the MLS

draft by the Colorado Rapids.

"That was a great feeling, being drafted," he said. "That's what I

always wanted to do, to get paid for what I loved to do."

After playing with the Rapids for 1 1/2 seasons, he was traded to

the Miami Fusion, which is no longer in existence. He played there

for two years, then competed for the Orange County Zodiac in the A

League (similar to baseball's triple-A level). Toward the end of

2000, he broke his fifth metatarsal and did not play in 2001.

He went back to Washington to finish college and earned a degree

in sociology. As part of his academics, Boyce worked at a summer camp

with underprivileged children. It was there he met his wife, Melissa.

They live in Costa Mesa with one son, Jayson, who is 20 months old.

They have another baby on the way, as Melissa is due in two weeks.

Boyce, the latest honoree of the Daily Pilot Sports Hall of Fame,

works at a fitness center. He hopes to play professionally again.

"Right now I'm hoping to get into the preseason and stick with a

team," Boyce said. "We'll see what happens. I still have some legs

left in me. I definitely want to continue playing soccer."

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