Athlete in focus: Easton “The Golden Hammer” Bogard

In his sophomore season, Easton Bogard helped lead the varsity soccer team to a 19-4 record and a sectional championship. 

Bogard made the varsity team last year as a freshman, but this year he made major strides, tying the school record for goals scored in a season with 29 and being selected to the all-state team. 

“Last year I received all-sectional and all-conference awards so my biggest individual goal this year was to be all-state. Being all-state is an honor all high school players want to achieve and I’m happy I did it,” said Bogard. 

Bogard credits his teammates, coaches, and his opponents for motivating him to improve his game. “From day one this year the coaches were trying to make sure I didn’t have a sophomore slump. They pushed me to improve in areas (that would) help the team,” said Bogard. 

In the offseason, Bogard improved his speed and strength, making him able to compete against bigger players. “Last year he was still great, but being a freshman he just didn’t have the physicality needed at this level. Over the offseason he put on some weight and it’s shown on the field,” said senior captain Eric Jackson. 

“This year he improved on a couple things. You can tell that he is a little more confident, and he’s better at using his body in the game,” said head coach Jason Fried. “Easton has just grown a lot by just staying calm. He understands that there’s aspects of a game you don’t control, and not letting that interfere with his game makes him such a smart player.”

Before a game, Bogard tries to remove outside stresses by listening to music, envisioning success, and sometimes napping, which help improve his in-game performance. 

Bogard said that it is hard to balance time between school and soccer because most days practice would be right after school. Individually, Bogard watches game film to get prepared for the team’s next game, which also takes time away from school work. 

“Balancing time between school and sports can be pretty difficult because depending on when the next game is, I would have to prepare mentally for the game. Balancing school and sports is knowing when to flip the switch mentally.” 

The Huskies played in a number of exciting games this season, but for Bogard none were quite like the sectional final against Evanston. He scored all three Huskie goals, tying the school record for goals in a season. His effort propelled the Huskies to a 3-0 win and their first 3A sectional championship. 

However, this was not Bogard’s favorite game that he played in. “My favorite game to play in was New Trier because at the time they were first in state, and it was likely our season could’ve ended. But (our) fans drove out an hour on a Tuesday night to support our team to play extremely well and edge out a victory,” said Bogard. He scored the lone goal of the game, elevating OPRF over New Trier in the sectional semifinal. 

Bogard’s elite scoring ability opens up the field and allows his teammates to play more freely. “He took so much pressure off the mids when it came to scoring that it allowed the whole team to play relaxed and fluently,” said senior captain Alex Hauck.

“Having him in the team gave us a sense of comfort since he scored in almost every game we played,” said senior Lindsey Foster. 

One of the biggest parts of the season for Bogard was the support he received from OPRF fans. Due to his blonde hair, fans dubbed him the “Golden Hammer,” which became OPRF fans’ go-to chant during games. 

“I really wanted to thank the fans for coming out and being the twelfth man on the field. Personally, the fans push me to keep going and I think I can speak for the team by saying without our fans I don’t think our team would have won as many games as we did. We hope we brought a great time for the people who came out to support and I encourage people to come out next year to support again,” said Bogard.