Crow River News Sports
As Chief Operators of the St. Michael-Albertville United soccer club, Tom Dawson, Director of Operations, and Roger Derham, Director of Coaching, each had one goal in mind when it came to the club.
With the club offering soccer activities for both youth boys and girls of all ages, the Minnesota Axmen are nearing the end of their inaugural season as the clubs first ever competitive soccer team offered to adults 18-older.
The Axmen currently play in the Sunday D4-Blue Division of the Minnesota Recreational Soccer League. The MRSL is made up of 102 men’s adult teams splitting time between four different levels of Sunday and Monday league games. The Axmen play their games on Sunday nights with their home field being at STMA Middle School East.
“When we put the team together, we knew we had a lot of people in town that loved to play the game,” Dawson said. “Once you turned 18, the people didn’t have a place to play and this allows everyone to be open to continue playing as adults.”
Dawson said about 70-percent of the 22-man roster is connected with the STMA soccer club. Ironically, the Axmen nickname was derived in the hopes to disconnect them in a way from primarily being a local team.
“We wanted to tie the name with something related to Minnesota,” Dawson said. “We wanted to go outside of just STMA and leave the opportunity there for everyone. The name Axmen goes back to being a logging community.”
With nine games officially under their belt, the Axmen have a current record of 2-6-1 overall with three games remaining on the schedule and two potential makeup games prior to the start of the leagues playoffs, which go from Aug. 17-25.
The teams first ever victory was on June 16 in a 6-4 victory at CC United, which is made up of players from Carver, Chanhassen, Chaska and Victoria.
The Axmen registered their first ever league point in their second game of the season with a 2-2 draw May 12 against Fury F.C. at the National Sports Center in Blaine. The lone other win came July 14 in a 7-4 win at home against Keg Legs.
“Obviously the first win was a highlight,” Dawson said. “I think the most memorable moment came in the inaugural game (a 5-2 home loss to Maccabi Minneapolis). Francisco Durruty scored the first goal in team history to put us ahead 1-0. It was a lot of fun to be a part of that first game.”
With the team still relatively new, there are a few familiar faces that are on this year’s roster.
Former STMA varsity soccer player and current University of St. Thomas student Ben Bridell is one of the teams top midfielders. Other top players include former STMA graduate Dustin Fuchs, Durruty and goalkeeper Nico Nikolov.