Son’s team beats dad’s in overtime at Armstrong
The doll rested on a table between the Armstrong and Rosemount benches Saturday afternoon, waiting to be claimed for the first time as the symbol of victory in this budding family rivalry.
The father-and-son rivalry had lasted long enough to make both Armstrong girls soccer head coach Chris Adams, and his father Kevin, who was coaching Rosemount, appreciate what this partly hand-crafted traveling trophy would represent.
There was going to be a winner, as well as a loser. Even a draw would have been decided on a mock penalty kick session, mostly to give the troll doll a home.
It almost came to that too, until Armstrong senior Kristin Page sent a shot on goal from 40 yards out that just sailed over the outstretched hands of Irish keeper Jessica Ojala in overtime to secure the Falcons’ 2-1 victory.
In the end, as the teams exchanged handshakes and the father and son a lengthy, heartfelt embrace, it was clear that the trophy was something of value.
“We are both competitive, and we both really like to win,” said Chris Adams. “This means a lot to me, mostly because of how important it is for our girls to win a game like this. But this experience was incredible. I’m not here coaching without him, so this is really special for me personally.”
In the days leading up to the match, the respect was mutual.
They would talk over meals – including during breakfast last Saturday – about how unique this opportunity was.
Kevin Adams has spent more than two decades in coaching. Chris Adams is still only 26 years old.
But the guidance Kevin provided along the way, both as a father and a coach, instilled in Chris the desire to follow a similar path.
As Kevin said, it was just a matter of when.
“Chris kind of cut his teeth with me on my staff, so I have seen how well he works with the kids,” said Kevin Adams, who had Chris on staff for two years at Rosemount before the Armstrong head coaching job opened. “He has a tremendous ability to coach. I knew this day would come, I just didn’t know when. But he earned the right to coach at this level. He got a great opportunity at Armstrong very early in life, which is difficult to do, and he is making the most of it.”
In turn, Chris Adams admitted that his path was paved by watching the way his father works with a team.
“My coaching influence is almost exclusively him,” said Chris. “He has been my mentor, not only as a coach, but as a player growing up we would break things down after games and talk about them. A lot of who I am comes from who he is as a coach.”
That would include their sideline demeanor – a shared calmness on display in an otherwise tense afternoon between the two teams.
Four yellow cards were handed out in the first half alone, a 40-minute span that saw the two teams exchange goals as well as jabs.
Senior Erin Antonson started the scoring for Armstrong, catching up to a perfectly placed through ball that she eased pass Ojala to give the Falcons a 1-0 advantage in the 12th minute.
Rosemount’s Anna Grausnick evened the score in the 31st minute when she got just enough of a cross from Kaylie Hanson to redirect past Armstrong keeper Kali Reinhardt.
The Irish controlled much of the play from there, but Armstrong held on long to enough to regain some momentum in the final 10 minutes.
Maggie Spellman of Armstrong hit the crossbar with about six minutes remaining, and Ojala held the score at 1-1 with a sprawling save two minutes into the overtime period.
But within seconds the ball would end up near the midfield line before eventually ending up on Page’s foot 40 yards from the goal.
“I saw it go in, and that was cool,” Page said. “Chris has been talking about this game all season, so we were really excited to come and out play against his dad’s team, and to beat them is really special because we know how much this means to him.”
Rosemount, 6-3-2 overall, returned to South Suburban Conference play Tuesday night against Apple Valley. The Irish were 1-2-2 in conference games.