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Lakeside senior midfielder Gaby Joseph clearly has a lot going for him and a very bright future.

But right now, Joseph is living in the moment.

The fleet Joseph is a big reason the Lions’ boys soccer team has reached the Class 3A state semifinals for the first time since 2008. The right side midfielder pulls defenses apart at the seams with a quick first step and explosive stride.

But this might not be the end-all for Joseph. His future plan includes attending Princeton University in the fall and walking on to the Tigers’ men’s soccer team.

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There was a time between seventh and eighth grades when a lot of what Joseph is doing on the field seemed impossible. He injured his knee in a club soccer match and it plagued him into high school.

“For 18 months, I was never at full strength,” Joseph said. “I had ligament damage in my knee and I just had to wait it out. I couldn’t move well laterally, and it was suggested I just stick to running.

“I learned a lot through that. … The injury made me appreciate the outlet that sports gave me.”

Joseph, who scored perfect 800s in both math and physics on his SAT 2s test, aspires to bigger things.

He will study pre-med at Princeton with hopes of someday becoming an orthopedic surgeon. His knee injury sparked an interest in orthopedics.

On Friday, seventh-ranked Lakeside attempts to bring home the private Seattle school’s first state title this weekend. Two wins away from that coveted title, the Lions (14-2-2) play Shorewood (14-3-4) in Friday’s 4 p.m. semifinal at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium.

If the Lions can win it all, no doubt Joseph will play a big part.

“It’s fun watching him,” Lakeside coach Mark Szabo said of Joseph. “We’ve talked to him about taking touches toward the goal. He’s just somebody that other teams really have to think about and deal with, which opens up things for other people.”

Knowing Joseph’s personality, he will do everything in his power to close out the job. The Lakeside program’s best state finish was seconds in 1989, 2000 and 2006 in 3A.

“Things are going really well for us, but we need to put all our energy into performing on Friday, so we can do something big on Saturday,” said Joseph, who has 16 goals and nine assists and career marks of 27 goals and 16 assists. “I’m really excited, it’s my senior year and I don’t think I could ask for anything more heading into my final weekend of high-school soccer.

“We have an opportunity to win a state championship.”

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