TOUGH SLATE FOR DODGERS
Strong nucleus returns for Fort Dodge boys soccer squad
A daunting schedule is an annual given for the Fort Dodge boys soccer program.
Head coach Joe Jackson and his Dodger players can’t spend too much time worrying about the opponent lined up across from them on the pitch, though.
“We know what’s coming,” said Jackson, who is beginning his sixth season at the helm. “All we can do is give them all we have. Control what we can. It’s tough, but you can’t get too caught up in worrying about the record or ranking of a CIML suburban school you’re facing (Fort Dodge squared off with five Top-10 programs in 2021).
“If you give your full effort and work hard every day, preparing with a sense of perspective and a grateful (disposition)…that’s the best way to ultimately compete and get the most out of a sport.”
Returning starters Ryan Madden, Franco Juarez and Andrew Alstott provide the base for FDSH. Senior veteran Colby Russell, a student at Southeast Valley, takes over as goalkeeper for the graduated Adam Pearson.
“It’s a good mix of juniors and seniors — some have experience and some are relatively new (to the program),” Jackson said. “Franco is great on the ball. He brings so much energy and puts a ton of effort into everything he does. Andrew has another year under his belt and is taking on more of an attacking mid or forward position.
“Colby is really stepping up in goal for us. And another senior (letterwinner), Bo Tracy, came on as the season progressed last year and earned a forward spot. He’s fearless up top.”
Sophomore JT Laufersweiler also saw regular action last spring, as did junior Brayden Schmieder.
“Ryan (Madden) and (twin brother) Joshua are right there, as are Brayden and JT,” Jackson said. “Ryan is a winger and Joshua is a part of the back-line defense. Brayden is a solid center, and JT just keeps growing and getting stronger.
“They’re all working well together. They’ve been focused, having fun and staying present in the moment. After what we went through (not having a season) two years ago because of the pandemic and then trying to get caught up (in 2021), it’s nice to have some normalcy to our routine in the early going – even though we did graduate and are replacing a terrific senior class.”
Sophomores Michael Wagner, Parker Schillerstrom and Cade Johll are all expected to push for playing time in the rotation as well.
The Dodgers dropped their last five matches last season — to Mason City, Humboldt, Marshalltown, Des Moines East and Southeast Polk — but all of the results were decided by either one or two goals.
Jackson will be assisted by former player Austin Read, who is now a teacher at FDSH.
“Austin brings a lot of excitement to the table,” Jackson said. “The kids see his passion and knowledge for the sport. It’s contagious. We appreciate having him on board.
“We’ve been working on building endurance. We have some kids out for track; Coach Q (Quennel McCaleb) and Kevin Astor have done a terrific job of making that work. It’s all a gradual process…we have to concentrate on getting better every day.”
The Dodgers open their season on Monday at Sioux City North. Their home opener is Friday against Storm Lake.
2022 FORT DODGE BOYS SOCCER
Seniors — Andrew Alstott, Jaziel Arellano, David Cruz-Olguin, Filipe Guides, Franco Juarez, Colby Russell, Bo Tracy, Kolby Wilson.
Juniors – Mikeal Campbell, Donovan Chilel-Chavez, Ignatius Kirby, Joshua Madden, Ryan Madden, Kyle Napier, Jonathan Ortega, Brayden Schmieder.
Sophomores – Brock DeLanoit, Cade Johll, JT Laufersweiler, Raily Merida-Samaoya, Omarion Myers-Zimmermann, Parker Schillerstrom, Michael Wagner.
Freshmen – Abraham Fisher, Arthur Lund, Brady Major, Carol Merida-Samaoya, Shawn Roberts, Diego Ron.
April 4 – at Sioux City North; 8 – Storm Lake; 12 – at Des Moines Roosevelt; 15 – Des Moines Hoover; 19 – at Waukee Northwest; 22 – at Ames; 25 – Humboldt; 26 – at Ankeny Centennial; 29 – at Ankeny.
May 5 – at East Sac County; 6 – Waukee; 10 – at Mason City; 13 – Marshalltown; 17 – Des Moines East.