Impressive talent and a new coach help men’s soccer succeed

Louisa Lincoln

Louisa Lincoln, Staff Writer

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Sophomore Elliot Cassutt scores one of his many goals against the Roosevelt goalie in their Spetember 24 game.

After starting the season as one of the top ten teams in the state, and subsequently falling out of the rankings, the Men’s Varsity soccer team is ready to make a comeback.

Of course, a record of twelve wins, three losses, and one tie is not much to complain about, but junior captain Sam Harper said that after being ranked fifth in the state, the team got a little “lazy”. Now that they’re the underdogs, they’re prepared to rebound with a goal of beating Southwest in sections

Junior Kyle Keefe dribbles the ball down the field amidst Roosevelt defendenrs on September 24. The Tigers defeated Roosevelt 6-3.

, which is currently ranked second in the state. The team would also like to beat number-one ranked Apple Valley and win sectionals. As senior captain Mitchell Erickson said, “Everybody wants to go to state, but it’ll be a tough road through sections.”

Perhaps the biggest change this year is the new coach, Tamba Johnson. A 1996 South High graduate, Johnson previously coached for Robbinsdale High School before becoming South’s head coach. Johnson also coaches for Minneapolis United, a club team that many of the South Varsity players play for during the summer. Johnson said that he has improved the team’s confidence, and that “every player feels like they’re contributing.” Mitchell Erickson agreed, saying that Johnson “has been able to utilize the talent we have in [the] best ways.”

One doesn’t have to know much about soccer to know that scoring goals is important. Nobody knows that better than sophomore Elliot Cassutt, who currently leads the state in goals scored with an outstanding 35 goals, 18 assists and 81 shots in 15 games as of October 3, according to the Star Tribune’s website. “He’s having a memorable season,” said Johnson, “players like that don’t come around too often.” But Cassutt tones it down, saying there aren’t many superstars on the team, but they all “play for each other.” Harper echoed this remark, saying that the team doesn’t rely on only one player and has become a stronger team.

Harper also mentioned that the team’s ability to move and pass the ball is strong, but he would like to improve their chances on goals, and would like to start winning by greater margins, as they did in their 19-0 win against Patrick Henry on September 9. Erickson mentioned that the players have a good understanding of the game, and know how to play tactical soccer. Cassutt thinks that the team could improve their communication on the field, as well as their defense, but maintains that the team’s offense and midfield is solid.

Harper and Cassutt both agreed that their game against Osseo on September 22 was a season highlight, a game that sounded like it came right out of the World Cup. After scoring in the first 45 seconds of the game, the score was 2-2 at regulation, so the game had to go into overtime, and then into double overtime.. During a penalty kick with a minute and a half to go, the team pulled ahead to win it 3-2.

As for the rest of the season, Mitchell Erickson may have said it best: “Hopefully the big highlights are yet to come.”

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