The routine is familiar to those who have attended a Vineyard boys’ soccer game. First, a short pass from one teammate — maybe Yannick Goncalves, maybe Alex GordonBeck — to another, junior Jason Lages. A split-second settling of the ball by Lages. And then an escape. Jason Lages doesn’t score on all of his breakaways — he doesn’t score in every game — but his trademark run has served him well so far this year. He has a team-leading 29 goals and 12 assists, and has broken Lucas Brewer’s 2005 school record for goals in a season. Earlier in the week, Lages was listed by the Boston Globe as the top scorer in the state of Massachusetts (Clinton’s Felipe Bispo has since taken that spot). Lages started playing soccer around age three, growing up with the game. He was born on the Vineyard, but his family is from Espirito Santo in Brazil, where growing up with soccer is the norm. 

In fourth grade, he started playing travel soccer. His teammates back then are for the most part still his teammates now. The core of this year’s soccer squad is a group of seniors who started playing travel soccer at the same time. Lages has always been the youngest player on that team.

Lages honed his skills in Brazil, where he could play soccer year-round. — Ivy Ashe

“I’ve known them forever,” he said. “We kept in contact when I was in Brazil.” In seventh grade, he moved back to Brazil for two years. During that time, the travel team made it to the final round of the Massachusetts Tournament of Champions.

Esteban Aranzabe, who has coached the travel team since its first year and is now varsity head coach at the high school, remembered being on I-495, driving to Lancaster on the way to the tournament, and getting a call from Lages.

“He called from Brazil, and said, you’re going to win it, you’re going to win it all,” the coach recalled. And they did, winning the championship title. They also won it this past year, after Lages had returned to the Vineyard.

Lages had planned to come back to the regional high school for his freshman year, but instead through his coach in Brazil, got a tryout with a club soccer team in Destin, Fla. He made the team, and spent a year there, playing for the club and for Fort Walton High School, where he made the varsity team and

helped the Vikings on a postseason run. Being in Brazil had helped his game, which Lages credits to being able to play throughout the year.

“You’re playing year round and you’re always fit,” he said. “You’re getting more touches on the ball, and practice makes perfect, so [by] playing more, you’re a little ahead of the game.” Being on the Vineyard makes year-round soccer harder, but Lages plays indoor soccer three times a week in the winter. The team plays together on Sundays.

“You always have to think about growing,” he said. “There’s always someone else out there working harder than you.” That’s been his biggest takeaway from his coach: everyone is working toward the same goal.

At the beginning of the season, Lages set a personal goal of beating the school record and scoring 30 goals, but his true focus is elsewhere. Last year, the varsity boys went undefeated in the regular season and lost in the section semifinals.

“We just got a little more experience going into the postseason playing Medway; they get to the state finals almost every year,” Lages said. “I want the team to go as far as possible.” A state championship is not off the table.

The core of this year's soccer team is a group that has been playing together for years. — Ivy Ashe

“This team . . . the sky’s the limit for this team,” he said.

The best part of playing soccer isn’t necessarily the soccer part of it, Lages said. It’s the people he plays with.

“My best friends come from sports,” he said. “Just being every day together at practice, hanging out, it’s fun. And I love soccer, so that only adds to it.”