Manistee Soccer Club posts impressive results in Great Lakes league, looks toward bright future

The Manistee Soccer Club U-15 girls team poses with the medals earned by winning their Great Lakes Co-Ed Soccer League championship. (Courtesy photo)

The Manistee Soccer Club U-15 girls team poses with the medals earned by winning their Great Lakes Co-Ed Soccer League championship. (Courtesy photo)

By KYLE KOTECKI

For the News Advocate

If the results from the Great Lakes Coed Soccer League this season are any indicator, Manistee is brimming with young and talented soccer players.

Of the record eight teams the Manistee Soccer Club had participating in the league this spring, four made it to the finals and three were crowned champions.

“I’ve lived here 23 years and the Manistee Soccer Club has been here longer than that I know,” said Manistee Soccer Club league rep Wendy Adamski. “… We’re pretty excited about the number of kids that are playing. We feel like we’re becoming a little bit more competitive.”

Adamski coached the U-15 boys #2 team all the way to a championship. According to Adamski, the two is significant as it demonstrates an increase in the number of participants.

“We had two U-15 boys teams, which is really great,” Adamski said. “We’ve never ever had that before. I coached team number two.”

Adamski’s team finished 8-1-1, with both the tie and loss coming at the hands of Shelby. Manistee had the last laugh, however, when they defeated Shelby in the championship game at Oakridge High School in Muskegon June 9.

“We tied Shelby at home 0-0,” Adamski said. “Then we lost to them in the tournament qualifier weekend 4-0. And that was the team that we played in the championship game and we beat them in overtime 1-0. So that was exciting. We were glad to play good competition. (Shelby) is a solid team.”

The Manistee Soccer Club’s U-11 boys team also won it all, which is unsurprising. They’ve been winning together for most of their young lives.

“The boys that I had on my team, I’ve had since they were four years old,” said U-11 boys coach Sam Joseph. “We’ve played pug soccer and all the MRA leagues and since they were four years old they’ve never lost a game. We’ve been undefeated for 13 seasons.”

The U-11 boys squad faced Orchard View in the finals. After some scouting Joseph decided the key to winning would be slowing down Orchard View’s star player.

“They had one player that was phenomenal,” Joseph said. “So we kind of watched his game and I kind of saw his tricks and moves and I picked one of our players — Braylen Zimmerman, the other coach’s son — who’s really fast. We just told him how to do one-on-one.

“I brought in (head coach) Brandon Prince and (goalkeeper) Shane Harrigan from the varsity team to help our team defend an offense that has really good ball skills,” Joseph continued. “And sure enough, man, we shut him down. It was the only game ever in that one kid’s career that he hadn’t scored.”

The game was scoreless after regulation, two sudden-death overtimes, a five-person shootout and a six-person shootout. It was at that point that Joseph peered down his bench and saw a little athlete with a big heart.

“The game itself was right out of Hollywood,” Joseph said. “… The only kid left on my bench was little Kaden Worch. I said, ‘Hey buddy, you just have to go and who cares about perfect form? Kick it however you can.’

“And his little legs gave that ball a kick and it rolled right in the corner of the goal and went in and the crowd just went nuts,” Joseph continued. “… Highlight of the season. Easily the highlight of his career. It was awesome. It was a great way to end it.”

The U-15 girls also won the championship game and in typical Manistee Soccer Club fashion, the final game was an exciting one as Manistee played the Fruitport Futbol Fury to a 0-0 tie after regulation.

“After three minutes of sudden-death overtime play, Allie Thomas — our fast left wing — had a breakaway and had a beautiful shot that ended the game in victory,” said U-15 girls coach Kate Thomson.

To Thomson, watching the players improve throughout the course of the season was more satisfying than winning the championship.

“This team has grown so much,” Thomson said. “… To watch these girls grow was outstanding. We had Maddie Fox who was new to the goalie position, and she just ended the season tremendously. She did incredibly well in goal. She was a tremendous asset and had tremendous growth over the season.

“… We just had a great team and LeAnne Bialik was a terrific assistant coach,” Thomson continued. “It was great to coach with her.”

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