Prep boys soccer: John Sundquist named CEC head coach
Sundquist guided the Lumberjacks to their first state tournament appearance since 2011 as an interim head coach this past season.
CLOQUET — After serving as the interim head coach of the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys soccer team this past season, John Sundquist will return next season as the official head coach of the Lumberjacks.
His hire was approved by the Cloquet School Board at its Monday, May 23, meeting.
Sundquist was the head coach of the Proctor girls soccer team from 2001-2010 before becoming an assistant coach for CEC under former head coach Dave Bergan, who officially resigned this past month.
Sundquist described the hiring as a 'big relief,' and said he’s eager to leave his mark on the CEC program.
“It’s tough when you want something this bad and you never know. You never know what’s going to happen,” Sundquist said. “So I’m just really excited to put my stamp on the program and kind of see where we can take it.”
Cloquet Activities Director Paul Riess said he’s excited to have Sundquist back.
“John is an outstanding coach who builds positive relationships with athletes and creates an environment athletes want to be a part of,” Riess said via email to the Pine Journal. “John served as our interim coach last year and was part of our state tournament team. We are excited to have him back.”
Under Sundquist's leadership, the Lumberjacks made their first state tournament appearance since 2011, defeating Denfeld 3-2 in the Section 7AA championship game. CEC went on to lose its quarterfinal matchup against Mahtomedi, bringing its season to an end with a final record of 12-5-2.
Sundquist describes his team’s style of play as possession-based, emphasizing ball control. With numerous returners from last year’s team capable of thriving in his system, Sundquist said he's optimistic about what the team can accomplish next season.
“We have some big expectations of those kids coming in to fill. They're all playing pretty high level soccer this summer,” Sundquist said. “So hopefully, if we see a little dip, it’ll be at the beginning of the season where everybody’s just kinda trying to find their place. But otherwise we expect to be rolling.”