By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
STMA boys’ soccer went 7-10 in 2016, continuing a steady improvement under head coach Tomas Rodriguez. One of those wins came on a rainy day in St. Francis as the Knights ran circles around a good Saints team 6-1.
“We played with smiles on our faces like kids on a playground and won despite the odds,” Rodriguez said.
The boys look to progress even further in 2017, led by a talented core of players including team captains Max Marron, Nicholas Ness and Brandon Borowiak. Also returning is talented midfielder Tucker Vaughn.
“We are building off of a large and talented pool of underclassmen who we look to integrate our philosophy of character, discipline and work ethic,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez’s team-building activities, which have been part of the program since he took it over, return this year with the team recently spending a weekend at Timber Bay Camp and Retreat Center in Onamia.
“We want to continue to teach our young men to serve others first and help our school and community,” Rodriguez said. He added that the group is cohesive and very fun to coach.
Newcomers to the team for 2017 include Osseo transfer Sulaiman Bada and Owen Lindstrom, who will both play defense for the Knights.
The summer came and went very quickly, but Rodriguez expressed faith in his team’s ability to get ready for the upcoming season.
“I feel this team is well-prepared and can take on the challenges every training or game presents.”
The number one goal for on-field soccer this season is that the team has a strong determination to give its best every game and every practice.
“We seek to improve after every win and learn after every loss,” Rodriguez said.
The Knights opened the season with a 4-2 win over the Elks of Elk River as the early game of a doubleheader.
Lucas Holbrook scored twice on the day for the Elks, but the Knights built a 3-0 lead in the first half and held strong defensively as senior captain Max Marron scored two of his own goals.
Head coach Tomas Rodriguez said that the game was a good start to the season.
“I think this group is a little more cohesive, so that’s why we’re working harder and getting these shots off, but that’s one thing we need to pin down; we’ve got to make sure we’re shooting on-target,” he said.
The Knights return to action September 5 against Moorhead.