Cloquet team finds their strideAs the Cloquet varsity girls soccer coach in the fall, Dustin Randall (like all coaches) gets a little intense at times. Yet, in the summer, he’s cool, calm and collected. So are his players. Never has that been more evident than in the past month with Randall’s Cloquet Under-17 C2 competitive girls soccer team. Hampered by injuries, sickness and depth, Randall said his Cloquet squad started slow, but has picked things up lately.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
As the Cloquet varsity girls soccer coach in the fall, Dustin Randall (like all coaches) gets a little intense at times.
Yet, in the summer, he’s cool, calm and collected. So are his players.
Never has that been more evident than in the past month with Randall’s Cloquet Under-17 C2 competitive girls soccer team. Hampered by injuries, sickness and depth, Randall said his Cloquet squad started slow, but has picked things up lately.
“The big picture is to improve and get better,” Randall said. “And we’re getting better. We’re really starting to come around.”
Randall’s philosophy in the summer is pretty easy-going.
“I don’t get too stressed out about the wins and losses,” he said. “The girls get enough stress from me in the fall. In the summer, it’s fun to just go out and play. Yes, it’s competitive, but it’s laid back, too.”
Cloquet competes in the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association in the summer. This year, they play in a pool that features seven teams, including Hermantown and Proctor, as well as northern metro squads
in Elk River, Blaine, Coon Rapids and
Throughout the summer season, Cloquet plays every league team twice – at home and on the road – and they take part in weekend tournaments. League playoffs start in mid-July, closely followed by regional play and state after that.
They play rain or shine. When practically every youth activity was canceled last week due to heavy rains and colder temperatures, the U-17 team played on.
“You need lightning to cancel these things,” Randall said. “We’ve played a lot in the rain this summer.”
Randall’s squad began playing in mid-May, but because of Minnesota State High School League rules, Randall wasn’t able to coach right off the bat. He took over in June.
That’s about the time his girls started to heal up.
“It was just one thing after another,” said Randall about his team’s various ailments. “We started slow, but have gotten some girls back since then and are now starting to play well.”
Sitting with a 4-7 overall record, Cloquet placed second in the Plymouth Soccer Association Tournament in the Twin Cities, while in last weekend’s East Select Tournament in Duluth, they defeated Eden Prairie’s competitive C1 club. Randall said they also knocked off Hermantown and have now won their last four league games.
“Hermantown was at the top of league,” Randall said. “We’ve played with everybody. That’s been a good experience for us.”
Randall explained that his roster features a mix of Cloquet varsity and junior varsity players. Seventeen are officially on the U-17 roster, while Randall also noted he brings up four U-15 players as well.
According to Randall, his Cloquet crew is guided by strong midfield play from Carri Zeadow, Carley Esse and Kristi Konietzko, as well defense from Amy Campbell and Mikaela Dunaisky.
“We have a good core group up the middle and our defense has played well, too,” Randall said. “We’ve had a tough time finishing, though. We’ve dominated teams, but just can’t get it in the net.”
Although Randall said his team needs to improve in the goaltending department and finish games better offensively, he’s been pleased with their efforts thus far.
After all, Cloquet never forgets their main objective.
“We’re looking to get better,” Randall said.
Striving to improve, Cloquet not only likes to play, but also watch, too. Randall said some of his players
were talking about the beginning of the Women’s World Cup at practice on Tuesday afternoon.
“I recorded it,” Randall said. “I like watching it, it’s neat. I never use to watch it much at all, but I like it now. The USA has a little ways to go. The Germans and Brazilians are good.”
Randall’s crew isn’t too shabby either.