An overwhelming schedule is an annual occurrence for the Fort Dodge men’s soccer program.
However, head coach Joe Jackson and his Dodgers players can’t spend too much time worrying about the opponent lined up in front of them on the field.
“We know what’s coming” said Jackson, who is beginning his sixth season at the helm. “All we can do is give them everything we have. Control what we can. It’s tough, but you can’t worry too much about the record or ranking of a CIML suburban school you’re up against (Fort Dodge was up against five Top-10 programs in 2021).
“If you push yourself and work hard every day, preparing yourself with a sense of perspective and a grateful (disposition) … that’s the best way to compete and get the most out of a sport.”
Returning starters Ryan Madden, Franco Juarez and Andrew Alstott provide the foundation for FDSH. Veteran senior Colby Russell, a student at Southwest Valley, takes over as goalie for graduate Adam Pearson.
“It’s a good mix of juniors and seniors: some are experienced and some are relatively new (to the program),” Jackson said. “Franco is very good with the ball. He brings so much energy and puts so much effort into everything he does. Andrew has another year under his belt and is taking on more of a forward or mid attack position.
“Colby is really stepping up in goal for us. And another senior (letter winner), Bo Tracy, came in as the season went on last year and earned a forward spot. He is not afraid upstairs.”
Sophomore JT Laufersweiler also saw regular action last spring, as did junior Brayden Schmieder.
“Ryan (Madden) and (twin brother) Joshua are there, as are Brayden and JT,” Jackson said. “Ryan is a winger and Joshua is part of the backline defense. Brayden is a solid center and JT continues to grow and get stronger.
“Everyone is working well together. They have been focused, having fun and staying present in the moment. After what we went through (not having a season) two years ago due to the pandemic and then trying to catch up (in 2021), it’s nice to have some normalcy in our routine at first, even though we graduated and they’re replacing a excellent senior class.”
Sophomores Michael Wagner, Parker Schillerstrom and Cade Johll are also expected to push for playing time in the rotation.
The Dodgers lost their last five games last season, to Mason City, Humboldt, Marshalltown, Des Moines East and Southeast Polk, but all results were decided by 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 children see his passion and knowledge for the sport. It’s contagious. We appreciate having you on board.
“We have been working on developing resistance. We have some kids on the track; Coach Q (Quennel McCaleb) and Kevin Astor have done a great job of making that work. It’s all a gradual process… we have to focus on getting better every day.”
The Dodgers open their season Monday in Sioux City North. Their first home game is Friday against Storm Lake.
2022 FORT DODGE KIDS 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 Mérida-Samaoya, Omarion Myers-Zimmermann, Parker Schillerstrom, Michael Wagner.
Freshmen: Abraham Fisher, Arthur Lund, Brady Major, Carol Merida-Samaoya, Shawn Roberts, Diego Ron.
April 4: in Sioux City North; 8 – Storm Lake; 12 – at Des Moines Roosevelt; 15 – Des Moines Hoover; 19 – in Northwest Waukee; 22 – at Ames; 25 – Humboldt; 26 – on the Centenary of Ankeny; 29 – in Ankeny.
May 5: in East Sac County; 6 – Waukee; 10 – in Mason City; 13–Marshalltown; 17 – East of Des Moines.