Rockford, Delano kick off soccer season

Nathan Ulen of Rockford (left) and Justin Elstad of Delano are senior leaders returning to their boys soccer teams. (File photo)
Nathan Ulen of Rockford (left) and Justin Elstad of Delano are senior leaders returning to their boys soccer teams. (File photo)

by Dave Pedersen

The high school soccer season kicks off this week for both Delano and Rockford girls and boys where three of teams have new coaches.

Mike Leipholtz of the Rockford boys is the lone area head coach returning. The team is not as young as in recent years, including only seniors, juniors and sophomores on varsity.

The team opens at Sauk Rapids, 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22 before going to PACT Charter, 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23 and to Southwest Christian, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27. The first home game is 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29 against North Branch at the new stadium field.

This is the first year for Abbey Maus as Rockford girls varsity coach. She coached the Rocket JV the past two seasons. After graduating from Maple Grove Maus played four years for Gustavus University.

The Rockford girls are led by a strong trio of captains in Abby Botten, Brianna Calder and Cally Nielsen. Otherwise, it is an extremely young squad.

The Rockets open with four straight home games starting against PACT Charter, 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23. Next comes Becker, 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26, Southwest Christian, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27 and North Branch, 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29.

John Bergh is the new head coach for the Delano boys varsity. The team has only four players returning with varsity experience.

Senior captains are Justin Elstad and Austin Stevens are joined by Keaton Bonine and Max Ramsted as proven players. Senior captain Ryan Kurtz is lost for the season after being injuring during summer play.

Senior Goalie Jaison Detweller is new to the team but will be an athletic goalie. Other seniors new to the squad are Ryan Klatke, Cooper Larsen and Zach Durbin. Junior Joseph Braiedy and sophomores Brandyn Wales and Thomas Grover round out the core group of players. Working for varsity playing time are Ray Heikkila, Sean Lohmann, Jordan Peterson and Will Crowley.

Bergh played for Bloomington Jefferson in high school and at Rockford University in Illinois. He continued to play soccer in the MSA premier league for many years. He is currently the director of coaching and player development for the Delano Soccer Club.

The season opens at Watertown-Mayer, 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23. The Tigers play at Waconia, 5 p.m. Aug. 29 and at Big Lake, noon Friday, Aug. 30.

Sean Roff is the new coach for the Tiger girls team after working the last three seasons with the Delano varsity boys program. The Champlin Park grad coached in the Brooklyn Park Kickers youth program as well as the Brainerd varsity girls team.

The Tigers start the season on the road, playing at Mayer Lutheran, 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at Watertown-Mayer, 7 p.m. Aug. 27 and at Waconia, 7 p.m. Aug. 29. The first home game is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3 against Glencoe-Silver Lake.

Contact Dave Pedersen at [email protected]