Rosemount girls believe they have talent to compete
Irish soccer season starts next week up north
High school girls soccer players are more skilled than ever, and that makes Kevin Adams’ job tougher.
Official practices started Monday, and the first task for coaches such as Adams is to evaluate the talent and assign players to teams. With more girls playing high-level club soccer, the task of choosing teams is more difficult than ever, said Adams, who is starting his sixth season as the Rosemount girls’ head coach.
“The speed of the game is much faster,” Adams said. “You’re looking for kids who work hard and make things happen. We need kids who can play fast, but they also have to understand the game well enough to make quick decisions, like seeing the space they need to get to before it’s even there.”
Teams have to play fast just to keep pace in the South Suburban Conference. Rosemount went 11-5-2 overall last season but was unable to finish higher than fifth in the powerful South Suburban, which sent three teams to the state Class AA tournament.
But in the 2011 regular season the Irish beat Burnsville, a team that ended up playing for the state championship, and tied Eastview, another state tournament qualifier.
“We were encouraged,” Adams said. “Our team right now is holding its own against the top teams in the conference.”
Senior forward Hannah Halterman led Rosemount in scoring with 12 goals and four assists last season. Also returning is senior Kate Mallory, the Irish’s starting goalkeeper.
Outside midfielder Marisa Knott and forward Kaylie Hanson each had four goals last season. Senior midfielders Jana Elliott and Jenny Dean also return.
The Irish will have to fill in with some new players in front of Mallory. Sydney Newton, a senior, is the only returnee on defense.
Several spots in the lineup will be filled by players new to varsity soccer, but Adams said those players should have the ability to help the Irish.
“We have the talent to play a lot of different ways,” he said. “In certain games, we might have three forwards up front. Other games, we might have two up front and more in the midfield. Each and every game, the way we play might be different, depending on the opponent, and we can do that because the girls understand the game.”
The Irish will be hosts of a six-team scrimmage at 9 a.m. Saturday at Rosemount High School. They go north to open the regular season with games Aug. 24 at Cloquet and Aug. 25 at Hermantown.