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Coaching Philosophy 
All families involved in Eagles Soccer Program are vital to the boys’ development as student-athletes. It is our staff’s goal to continue to build up our entire soccer program and provide educational and competitive experiences for the students of all grade levels. As varsity coach at Totino-Grace I am excited about and committed to creating an environment where students come together to work toward a goal greater than themselves. There are many opportunities at Totino-Grace for students to develop and share their gifts. The boys soccer program affords those students who make the team a setting where they can dedicate themselves to teamwork, competition, and enjoyment as a result of working hard. Each soccer team in our program has high expectations for students—academically, socially, athletically and spiritually. 

Cut Policy 
Due to the nature of high school athletics and the number of interested participants, rosters will be limited. As varsity coach it is my intention to choose the best players for each level. With the exception of the freshmen team there will may be cuts based on soccer talent and skill, commitment to the team, and work ethic. The boys’ coaching staff takes full responsibility for the decisions made regarding team selection and playing time. 

Code of Conduct and Expectations 
The MSHSL Athletic Eligibility Form along with the TG behavior contract specifically articulate the standards to which all boys soccer players will be held. 

Sportsmanship 
Soccer at the high school level is competitive, educational and meant to be enjoyed. Behavior that does not reflect this understanding is unacceptable. All coaches, players, referees, parents, and fans are reminded to honor the game of soccer and the dignity of all persons involved in the playing of the game at all times. 

Bill Vance      Varsity Head Coach       
Andrew Blake      Assistant Coach  
Jim Dahlman Assistant Coach  
Chris Vance Assistant Coach  

Boys Soccer tryouts begin Monday, August 15 at 8:00 a.m. Seniors are asked to arrive at 7:30 a.m. 

Practice will be held at the Totino-Grace practice fields from 8:00 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday

Players need running shoes, soccer shoes, shin guards, and healthy snacks. 

All 9th graders who try out will be placed on a team. Depending on the number of players who tryout, there may be cuts for students in grades 10-12. 

During the week of August 22-26, practice will be once a day for 90-120 minutes between 2:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Exact schedules will come out by August 19. 

A mandatory parent-player-coach BBQ and pre-season meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. oThursday, August 25, at Totino-Grace.

For questions regarding 9th graders email or call Mr. Jim Dahlman, jim.dahlman@totingrace.org or ext. 701. 
Contact Mr. Bill Vance at bill.vance@totinograce.org or 763-571-9116 Ext 792 with any other questions.




2016 Game Summaries

9/27 Spring Lake Park
Participating in the same conferences since the 1990's, Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony and TGHS have had some memorable matchups.  This evening's Northwest Suburban Conference game appeared to lack some of the nostalgia and a lot of the rivalry as there were less than 10 fans present just minutes prior to kickoff.  The surface was under thousands of gallons of water just a week ago and the tiny recycled-rubber pellets were visible on anything that touched the playing surface. 

The Panthers scored in the 5th minute on a multi-save effort by senior keeper Dan Forbord on what appeared to be the third rebound.  The deserved goal gave SLP energy and acted as a wake-up for the dreary Eagles.  The Eagles struggled with the Panthers quick thinking and quick moving midfield but equalized on a quick counter attack when a ball played across by senior Jacob Beltman was slowed down by the sole of Jjunior ack Vettel's feet so that sophomore Parker Jaeger could drive home a left-footed cannon in minute 13.  The Panther's skillful attack kept the backline and Forbord occupied throughout the match.  In the 23rd minute the Eagles earned a cornerkick and Vettel's driven cross was succinctly redirected between the keeper and the post to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead for the rest of the half.  
 
The rain kept falling and more fans filled the stands as the second half saw chances at both ends.  In the 54th minute a SLP throw-in turned into one of the patented 50+ yard runs by sophomore scoring leader Herbert Endeley.  He darted and danced with six, count 'em Panthers in pursuit before beating the keeper and shooting it left footed upper shelf to make it 3-1.  The Panthers showed life with five minutes to go on a header goal but the Eagles held on to improve their record to 8-2 as they prepare to visit (2004 Alum) Coach Mario Perez and the Irondale men's soccer team Thursday at 7PM.  Come out and support the Eagles!


9/24 St. Thomas Academy
The concern of multiple faithful Eagles soccer alums expressed through emails and phone calls was: would the Eagles have enough in the tank to play A #2 ranked St. Thomas Academy after an exciting victory over AA #7 ranked Andover.  Others wondered what the midfield would look like without two-year starter and captain Luke Lindsay.  The conversation and meditation in the locker room told the players to 'look where they want to go' and 'control what they can control' all while praying for and playing for Lindsay.  

Wind played a factor in the style of play for both sides as the Cadets had it at their back the first half.  The opening 25 minutes was not pretty and St. Thomas had the lion's share of the possession.  In the 26th minute a diagonal ball was served toward a darting STA winger who collected the ball and struck it between the posts to give the Cadets a 1-0 lead.  The Eagles responded immediately.  The kickoff was played back and then forward with a number of tidy 1-touch passes.  A fifty-fifty ball gave the Cadets possession for a moment, but sophomore Parker Jaeger won a poke tackle to junior captain Collin Matzoll who touched it on to junior Jack Vettel. Vettel dribbled toward the sideline at midfield and played turf-appropriately weighted service up the wing to outside midfielder Jacob Beltman.  Beltman drove a strong cross toward the six yard box where freshman Liam Vance battled with his mark to get the ball to sophomore Herbert Endeley.  Endeley, facing goal, deftly touched the ball to his right, with the outside of his right foot before driving a hard shot on the floor between the keeper and post.  The ball actually went through the net and bounced high in the air, leading some Eagle fans and players to question whether it was a goal.  The referee confirmed it (as did their keeper's reaction) and the game was level less than 30 seconds after the Cadets goal.
 
The second half saw the Eagles improve their time of possession statistic and get some looks at goal.  By the end of regulation a couple of near misses by the Eagles left them ruing their missed opportunities.  The overtime commenced after some deep breathing exercises by the Eagles and two minutes into the first OT period, Parker Jaeger collected a ball off a Cadet above the Eagles' penalty area.  He served it to Vettel before making a penetrating run.  Vettel chipped a one time, angled pass toward the center circle.  Matzoll identified the flight of the ball over his left shoulder then started jogging toward the far side line with his back to the ball.  Jumping up on his left leg,  Matzoll cushioned the ball with his right after eyeing it directly over his head.  It was as if he knew exactly where it was going to land.  After poetically placing it on the floor, his second touch sent the ideal through ball to Beltman who strode down the same flank that caused the first goal.  This time Beltman struck it one time where it careened off the far post upper 90 and tickled the back of the old onion bag--an overtime strike of will and skill.  The Eagles defended with discipline and managed the next 7 minutes of overtime to help improve their record to seven wins and two losses.  
 
The Eagles are set to play longtime rival Spring Lake Park Tuesday who took Andover to overtime in their conference matchup.  If SLP's turf is playable, the game will be there.  If not, it will be at TG Tuesday at 5pm.  The Eagles then travel to Irondale where 2002 State Champ Mario Perez is in his second year as head coach.  Kickoff is 7pm at Irondale.  Senior and Parent day is nextSaturday, 10/1 at 3PM at TG.  Mark your calendars and come out and celebrate the class of 2017 seniors as well as all varsity parents.


9/22 Andover
It was a roller coaster.  The Eagles hosted #7AA Andover in Conference Match Day 8 twenty four hours after torrential rainfall in the northern suburbs.  Professional sports teams' groundskeepers could take a page from TG grounds crew handbook as the grass surface of Jim Totino Stadium held pretty well.  The first twenty minutes of the game seemed to send a message to the conference leading opponents that the Eagles were there to play.   In the 13th minute, Luke Lindsay won the ball at midfield and quickly played an angled pass to Collin Matzoll.  Matzoll's 1-time crafty chip into space invited a run toward goal by Herbert Endeley who beat his defender to the ball and then rocketed it upper shelf in between the keeper and the near post from a tight angle.  Andover literally took the kickoff into the penalty area and nearly tied the game seconds later.  Thanks to some good fortune in addition to good goalkeeping by Dan Forbord, (not to mention steady defending by all Eagles) TG entered halftime up 1-0.  Andover had numerous chances and the Eagles used all sorts of unorthodox touches to keep the net clean. There was a scrum that included four saves.  In the 44th minute a very dangerous long throw deflected off an Eagle defender where a Husky was able to tie the game.  A foul outside the right side of the box by the Eaglessix minutes latergave Andover's #7 his second goal of the night. Down 2-1 with 30 minutes to go, the Eagles struggled to keep possession, were consistently beaten to 50-50 balls and appeared out of sorts.  A counter attack by the Eagles in the 67th minute resulted in a penalty that the Andover goalkeeper thwarted.  The assistant referee flagged the goalkeeper for leaving early and McHugh buried his second chance to tie the game.  The game winning goal was a second penalty as a result of a handball by an Andover defender.  This time Endeley took the spot kick and the keeper again saved it but McHugh anticipated the rebound and blasted the rebound to give the Eagles the lead for good.  It was a game of back and forth and numerous illustrations of quick, crafty soccer from both sides.  The  Eagles hit the post twice (Endeley and Matzoll) and Forbord regularly exploded off his line to deal with too many extremely dangerous long throw-ins. There were minutes of pressing, hungry soccer as well as periods of erratic, disconnected decision-making but CREDO--belief and 80+ minutes of focus allowed the Eagles to defeat Andover for the first time in their three years in the NWS Conference.  Forbord had 8 saves and so did the Husky keeper.

9/20 Osseo
It always brings back memories when the Eagles play at Osseo High School's stadium.  Match Day 7 was the first time the Eagles were playing the actual Osseo soccer team at Osseo since joining the Northwest Suburban Conference in 2014.  The Orioles entered the game with a 1-4-1 conference record and the Eagles were 4-2.  The wind in the face of the Eagles and the turf made for some erratic play in the first half.  A number of good ideas manifested themselves in balls served too long or bounces that traveled just a bit higher than they would on grass.  The Eagles had more of the possession early on but Osseo had a pair of crafty 10th graders whose speed put the Eagles on their heals more than once.  Senior keeper Dan Forbord was forced to make an impressive diving save on a hard bending shot from outside the penalty area.  The Eagles chances were more numerous but not necessarily more dangerous.  As the second half commenced, the wind was at the Eagles' backs. A renewed emphasis on quicker thinking gave the Eagles the upper hand, or was it technically 'upper wing' in this avian matchup.  A quick and penetrating pass from the left side of midfield nearly found outside midfielder Jacob Beltman.  The pressure the Eagles put on the Orioles lead to the first goal of the night when a goal kick went directly to Senior Sam Smith who's one touch redirection of the ball went directly in front of sophomore winger Herbert Endeley.  The channel 12 announcers, the fans and pretty much anyone watching knew Endeley would penetrate with the ball into the box.  A defender nearly cut Herbert off but that was when Endeley's cut inside allowed him to drive a right-footed strike between the keeper and the post.  Eagles were up 1-0 with 24 minutes remaining.  A few cornerkicks and free kicks continued to keep the pressure on Osseo and a Peter McHugh well-placed service into the path of junior Luke Lindsay allowed Lindsay to lure his defender away from the goal only to turn and serve a near post cross.  An Osseo defender's attempted clearance went straight at Endeley whose right footed half volley was thunderous!  The Eagles were up 2-0 with 10 minutes remaining.  Dan Forbord was steady and vocal in earning the shutout as he managed a back line of Jaeger brothers (Ben and Parker), Jack O'Dea, Mchugh, and Cade McSherry in limiting Osseo's chances.  Junior Collin Matzoll's move from holding midfielder to attacking midfielder clearly helped the Eagles find more chances in the second half.

9/17 Maple Grove
A picturesque Autumn afternoon at Jim Totino Stadium saw the TG Women's Varsity come from a 1-0 halftime deficit to defeat Maple Grove 2-1 prior to the Eagle Men's Match Day 6 fixture.  Eagles coaching staff member Jim Dahlman set aside his C-Squad coaching hat for his public address announcer voice in subbing for announcer emeritus Mark Dougherty and the transition was seamless.  

Maple Grove's senior Ryan DuBois entered the game having earned at least a goal or assist in each of the team's games thus far this season according to their coach and the Eagles knew their task: shut him down.  Various reasons, including closed interstate ramps and highways, caused multiple Eagles to arrive late to the established locker room time.   With the tardies and an additional two Eagles absent for family reasons, numerous Eagles started in unique positions with a unique system to begin the game.  The adage, 'excuses don't count, results do' is what the starting members of the squad demonstrated in the opening minutes of the match despite their new roles.  Maple Grove worked to get the ball up top to DuBois by high pressure defending and quick, direct services in his direction.  The Eagles backline by committee included sophomore Parker Jaeger, juniors, Luke Lindsay, Collin Matzoll, Jack Vettel, Jack O'Dea, and seniors Peter McHugh and Cade McSherry.  They were anchored by goalkeeper Dan Forbord who directed operations from the back with clear communication and decisive action when called upon.

The Eagles broke the stalemate in the 22nd minute when a Cade McSherry throw-in found Lindsay who placed a thru ball directly into the path of sophomore scoring leader Herbert Endeley.  Endeley's one touch put him past one defender to the left endline. He continued in on goal before attempting to serve it toward the six yard line with the outside of his right foot.  A defender blocked that service but unknowingly deflected it behind an onrushing 9th grade Liam Vance (recently called up from the B-squad).  Vance stopped in his tracks and swung around right footed, a la Clint Dempsey 2009, and shot it past a defender and goalkeeper to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.  The Eagles had another throw-in deep in Crimson territory.  A Crimson defender one-timed a clearance attempt but hit Vettel at the 18 yard line.  Vettel's first touch popped in the air in the direction of the goal, his second touch deftly juggled it toward goal again only to be thwarted by a Maple Grove defender's leg catching Vettel's plant foot: penalty kick.  McHugh calmly buried the spot kick to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead in the 27th minute.

With 16 minutes remaining, an Eagle foul gave Maple Grove a 40 yard free kick, a number of which had previously been served into the top of the 18 yard line.  This time it was blasted just under the crossbar to cut the lead in half.  The Eagles recommitted to defending with discipline and focus and other than a few cornerkicks, did not allow the Crimson another chance at goal.


9/15 Blaine
Soggy, saturated, slippery, and slick--Match Day Five was a wet one at Blaine High School.  The5PMkickoff saw the teams skip the starting lineups due to the weather and just a few minutes into the match, Blaine's shot that was cleared off the line with a fine defensive effort rebounded back to one of the Bengals leader scorers who shot it high and into the back of the net.  The Eagles appeared stunned because the first effort did do well to prevent their first attempt but soccer is a game of chances and the Blaine Bengals buried their second chance much to the chagrin of the Eagles and their water-resistant faithful followers.  The Eagles first goal came when Jack Vettel served a ball in from the endline that was intercepted by a Blaine defender.  Herbert Endeley didn't give up, took the ball away and surprised the goalkeeper with a near post blast.  The second goal came off of Bengal goal kick that Jacob Beltman one-timed to Endeley on the left wing.  Endeley cut the ball inside and sent a right-footed blast in the direction of the top right corner of the goal to make it 2-1.  A penalty call left the door open for the Bengals to tie the match but Dan Forbord shut that door with a diving save and the discipline to hold on to the slippery ball after the save.  Endeley rewarded his keeper by earning a penalty kick on the other end.  Peter McHugh stepped up and buried his chance to make it 3-1 in the second half.  A 30 minute lightning delay was an opportunity for each team to shift tactics or momentum or focus.  Following that break it was the Eagles who scored two more goals that are much more impressive viewing them live than on film or in print.  A Bengal pass out of their back 1/3 was intercepted by Luke Lindsay who played a nifty wall pass with Collin Matzoll, but with a twist.  Lindsay literally twisted in a circle to serve his next touch to Jack Vettel.  Vettel's well-timed run gave him the opportunity to one-time the ball far post: Eagles up 4-1.  The Eagles increased the lead to a four goal margin when Lindsay played a long angled ball to the far side of the penalty area where the deft touch of Matzoll settled the ball in order for it to be gently directed past the Bengal keeper.  Eagles up 5-1.  The Bengals earned another penalty and, despite Forbord getting a  hand on it, converted.  The 5-2 victory gives the Eagles a 3-2 record heading into Saturday's home match with Maple Grove at3PMat Jim Totino Stadium.  Go Eagles!

9/13 Elk River Park Center

The Eagles' home opener saw Eagles Announcer Emeritus, Mark Dougherty, grab the announcer’s microphone and professionally communicate to all in attendance—from graciously thanking the referees to offering scoring summaries to new and improved corporate sponsorship announcements (Discount Double Check anyone?) and invitations for prospective students to visit TG.

Mark announced the game time temp as 74 degrees, welcomed the Pirates of Park Center and then quickly announced four Park Center corner kicks in the span of two minutes.  The Eagles did nicely to prevent shots on goal but not well enough to prevent the onslaught of corner after corner after corner and corner.  Finally, “Goal Kick Totino-Grace” communicated to all the fans that the Eagles were starting to wake up. 

Sophomore returner Herbert Endeley put the Eagles ahead with under two minutes to go in the first half on a well-placed pass from sophomore Parker Jaeger to give the Eagles the one goal advantage. Endeley received the pass, touched it past the defender nearly sombrero style, and rocketed it past the Pirates keeper.  It felt as though the Eagles could earn their first shutout until the Pirates ‘penzanced’ (poetic license) their way through the Eagles backline to level the match at 1-1.  The Pirate fans cheered, the Eagles lamented the allowed goal but neither team could find a way to finish the game off in the few remaining minutes of regulation.

The overtime saw the Eagles create multiple dangerous chances and junior Jack Vettel (prior to jetting off to Eden Prairie for the Eagles vs. Eagles football game) demonstrated an Eagle trait in not giving up while being shoved off the ball.  After momentarily losing balance, he pushed the ball away from his defender toward the center of the penalty box, caught up with it and then placed a low shot into side netting to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead with under 3 minutes remaining in the second overtime.  The Eagles defeated the Pirates for the first time in three tries as members of the Northwest Suburban Conference by a score of 2-1.  The Eagles would like to thank all the fans who came out to the game!  The JV won 3-1, the B-squad won 4-1 and the C-Squad tied Park Center 4-4. The next varsity game is Tuesday at Centennial at 7pm before the Eagles head to IL the following weekend.  Come out and support the Eagles!

9/6 Centennial
The turf field at Centennial allowed the game to be played after a 24 hour period where saturated soccer pitches throughout the metro caused lower level games to be moved or delayed.  The Eagles were excited to try to earn their first victory over Centennial in their third season as a member of the Northwest Suburban conference.

The first two minutes saw four real chances at goal for the Eagles. Thru-balls, crosses and a combination into the penalty box put Centennial on their heels and gave the visiting Eagles a sense of pride. The Cougars  spent much of the first half in their own end but as time passed, the clear Eagle chances dwindled.  Totino-Grace won air balls and connected passes but the longer the game went on, the less the game looked like soccer and the more it resembled pinball or some other game of random ball movement. While the Eagles had more possession, Centennial had more patience. The scorebook showed the Eagles with five shots on goal to the Cougars two. The Eagles had plenty of near misses as well. The post game discussion included the phrase: "it is a game of moments and they finished theirs." An inability to successfully distribute the ball out of he back gave a Centennial midfielder the time and space to lift a well-weighted chip over the Eagles back line into the path of a nice run by the Centennial goal scorer with 30 minutes to go in the game.  The Eagles tried to put numbers forward but to no avail.  The busy Centennial defenders and keeper stopped the chances and half chances--the result is frustrating but the team takes full responsibility for it.  
 
A draw would have been frustrating, the loss will act as a painful but important teachable moment to draw out numerous lessons on finishing, team defending, and holding one another accountable for all the components of the game that we can control.  Go Eagles!

9/1 Park Center
The Eagles home opener saw Eagles Announcer Emeritus, Mark Dougherty, grab the announcer’s microphone and professionally communicate to all in attendance—from graciously thanking the referees to offering scoring summaries to new and improved corporate sponsorship announcements (Discount Double Check anyone?) and invitations for prospective students to visit TG. 

Mark announced the game time temp as 74 degrees, welcomed the Pirates of Park Center and then quickly announced four Park Center corner kicks in the span of two minutes.  The Eagles did nicely to prevent shots on goal but not well enough to prevent the onslaught of corner after corner after corner and corner.  Finally, “Goal Kick Totino-Grace” communicated to all the fans that the Eagles were starting to wake up. 

Sophomore returner Herbert Endeley put the Eagles ahead with under two minutes to go in the first half on a well-placed pass from sophomore Parker Jaeger to give the Eagles the one goal advantage. Endeley received the pass, touched it past the defender nearly sombrero style, and rocketed it past the Pirates keeper.  It felt as though the Eagles could earn their first shutout until the Pirates ‘penzanced’ (poetic license) their way through the Eagles backline to level the match at 1-1.  The Pirate fans cheered, the Eagles lamented the allowed goal but neither team could find a way to finish the game off in the few remaining minutes of regulation.

The overtime saw the Eagles create multiple dangerous chances and junior Jack Vettel (prior to jetting off to Eden Prairie for the Eagles vs. Eagles football game) demonstrated an Eagle trait in not giving up while being shoved off the ball.  After momentarily losing balance, he pushed the ball away from his defender toward the center of the penalty box, caught up with it and then placed a low shot into side netting to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead with under 3 minutes remaining in the second overtime.  The Eagles defeated the Pirates for the first time in three tries as members of the Northwest Suburban Conference by a score of 2-1.  The Eagles would like to thank all the fans who came out to the game!  The JV won 3-1, the B-squad won 4-1 and the C-Squad tied Park Center 4-4. The next varsity game is Tuesday at Centennial at 7pm before the Eagles head to IL the following weekend.  Come out and support the Eagles!

8/30 Anoka
It is a memory that the boys will keep for a long time--playing on the game field of our MLS-bound Minnesota United FC to open the season against reigning AA state champion Anoka.  Anoka was coming off a tough loss to Washburn and this was the first time the Eagles got to experience the 2016 campaign in a truly competitive environment.  The conference opener was the season opener for the Eagles and it proved to be quite the entertaining match.  Anoka opened the scoring off an Eagles turnover in the 13th minute.  In the 15th minute senior keeper Sam Beckfeld made a big save to limit the damage Anoka was causing with the speedy runs into the final third and their dangerous long throw-ins.  Their second goal came off a long throw to a flicked header and then a pounced opportunity.  

Coming out of the halftime break down 2-0 wasn't ideal but the Eagles slowly regained the possession. Sophomore Parker Jaeger gave the Eagles life after Sam Smith worked hard to pressure Anoka's backline and earn a throw-in.  He found Eagle-eye junior captain Luke Lindsay who quickly delivered a fine service to a darting Jaeger who beat his defender, took a touch and blasted past Anoka's keeper.  The Eagles stepped up the pressure and failed to finish the chances they created.  With under 30 seconds left the Eagles got the ball from half field into the box and a half-chance as time expired sailed over the goal--the crowd gave a collective roar and the teams shook hands and soaked in the impressive atmosphere.  The Eagles host Park Center Thursday at 5pm.  Come out and support the Eagles!



2015 Game Summaries


9/1 Anoka
The Totino-Grace Eagles opened the 2015 season with conference foe and AA defending State Champion Anoka Tornadoes.  The match had all the elements of a FIFA video game--goals, saves, cards, penalty calls and no calls, and six goals.  The Eagles had the ball in Anoka's defensive half for the first segment of the game and thenat the other end an Eagles clearance was picked off by an Anoka midfielder who combined quickly for the first goal for Anoka.  The minutes that followed saw Anoka gain momentum and put the Eagles on their heels.  The Eagles put pressure on the Anoka backline and senior Qomoo Atomsa cleverly picked off their back pass to the keeper and slotted it home to tie the game.  Ten minutes later senior Imo Etuko scored his first goal since his 9th grade year on a right footed half volley minutes after junior James Challou forced a great save by Anoka's keeper on a header from a corner kick.  The halftime talk addressed the lack of communication, especially in the center of the park and the need to anticipate the movement of the ball instead of reacting to it.  In the 52nd minute the Eagles were called for denying a goal scoring opportunity.  Anoka converted the penalty and the game was tied up.  The ten-men Eagles adjusted, regrouped and spent time defending their own end and trying to counter when the opportunity presented itself.  With under twenty minutes to go, sophomore Luke Lindsay got the ball on the right wing and struck a rocket that the goal keeper could only get his hand on, before it landed side-netting to for the game winning goal.  With under 5 seconds left, senior Angasso Yusuf scored the team's fourth goal to defeat the AA state champions by a score of 4-2.  
9/3 Park Center
The Park Center Pirates had speed and strength from the get-go that put the attempts at possession for the Eagles under high pressure.  The Eagles tried to find their feet in the first minutes of the game when a series of back passes lead to a Pirate forward picking the Eagles pocket and putting Park Center up 1-0 less than two minutes into the game.  Captain Ebuma Namarra describes the next 15 minutes as an Eagles squad that struggled to find their equilibrium.  The pirates won tackles, won airballs, trapped the Eagles in tight spaces, and produced two would be goals if it weren't for the timely highlight reel saves of senior keeper Matt O'Dea.  If the first half belonged to the swashbuckling Pirates, the second half saw the Eagles at least get out of their own nest.  A few deep breaths and positional changes helped the Eagles keep possession further up the field and create a number of dangerous chances.  A few plays seemed as though they would result in a equalizing goal but they never materialized.  While freshman forward Herbert Endeley performed several deft touches to beat two defenders into the box, his point blank shot was saved by the Pirate keeper.  Senior forward Angasso Yusuf was half a step away from goal when he made an anticipatory speedy run from the right side, again the Pirate keeper thwarted the half chance.  It is a game of inches and credit the Pirates for earning the victory.  The 1-0 loss now puts the Eagles at 1-1 on the season.  They host Northwest Suburban Conference power Centennial on Tuesday at 5PM at Jim Totino Stadium.  
9/8 Centennial
On a beautiful night for soccer the Eagles were blessed by long time Eagles Announcer Emeritus, Mark Dougherty.  His insights and positive but neutral announcing might have been the highlight for what proved to be a night otherwise memorable for multiple moments of frustration.  The Eagles appeared to have the control of the ball for spells of the match but multiple untimely errors allowed Centennial to score once in the first half and twice in the second.  The Eagles lone varsity ninth grader, Herbert Endeley, did follow a miscommunication by Centennial's backline to collect the ball and score to tie the game with less than 15 minutes left in the first half.  The Eagles allowed a goal three minutes into the second half but were given an opportunity to go level with a penalty kick just two minutes later.  The Centennial keeper made a great diving save that caused the ball to hit the post and helped Centennial keep the lead.  A miscommunication by the Eagles allowed Centennial to score a third and the Eagles also earned yet another penalty and this time the spot kick blasted off the cross bar.  The Eagles visit Armstrong for a 7PM kickoff Thursday night.  
9/10 Armstrong
The Eagles were ready to right the ship after two matches where they didn't demonstrate the level of play or the effort needed in their 2015 campaign.  Armstrong exchanged forays up the field with the Eagles in the first half. The backline of Andrew Keller, Peter McHugh, Ed Chomilo, and Adam Vettel, along with defensive mid James Challou and keeper Matt O'Dea, prevented a few half-chances when Armstrong got within striking distance.  The Eagles created more chances than their opponents in the first half but entered halftime level, 0-0.  The second half saw the Eagles step up their possession in the attacking half and at the 57 minute mark, Imo Etuko one-touch won an Armstrong goal kick in midfield on the left flank, playing it to Herbert Endeley, who served it straight back to Etuko, who one touched a slotted pass to Luke Lindsay who craftily played it in the path of right outside mid Connor Mullen.  Mullen struck it first time and it careened off the keeper into side netting--an 'up back through' goal the Eagles have been rehearsing since preseason.  Moments later the Eagles took the ball from Armstrong's kickoff.  The ball bounced around midfield until Vettel pushed it up the left side where Etuko played it forward for Endeley.  Endeley wound through three defender and struck it--lefty power--inside the far post to double the lead.  Twelve minutes later, Qomoo Atomsa collected the ball on the left wing and sent a cross in where Ebuma Namarra foiled the defense.  The ball ended up in front of Mullen's well-timed run and Mullen kept the left-footed goals coming with an accurately placed shot between the diving keeper and the far post.  The Eagles improved their record to 2-2 and visit Elk River for a rare 5PM Saturday game.  Matt O'Dea had two saves and numerous other well-timed interventions to earn the team's first shutout of the year.  
9/12 Elk River
On a rare Saturday evening conference matchup, the Elks of Elk River hosted your TG Eagles on a beautiful mid-September day.  The 5PMkickoff was slightly delayed as the women's game ended regulation in a scoreless draw and saw the teams exchange goals in the last 5 minutes of overtime.  The Eagles used the extra warmup time to make adjustments for the three missing players who were unable to make the game for various reasons.  The physical play on the narrow football field--a width very comparable to the too narrow confines of Jim Totino Stadium--communicated to fans, friends, and foes alike, that this matchup was not for the faint of heart.  Over twenty fouls were called on the evening and both teams felt that a few no-calls appeared to be more than obvious fouls.  The backline was a bit unfamiliar but ready for whatever came its direction.  The vocal leadership of senior captain Ben Kearney and senior goalkeeper Matt O'Dea tried to sort out the numbers Elk River was sending forward.  It was especially tested when more than their traditional two forwards tried to press the Eagles backline.  In the 11th minute a Qomoo Atomsa authored penetrating pass lead to a dangerous run by freshman forward Herbert Endeley into the penalty area.  The Elks won the ball but the attempted clearance traveled in front of senior captain Ebuma Namarra who deftly turned his first touch into a preparation touch and persuasively struck it upper 90!  The teams both failed to find their rhythm. The first forty minutes concluded with a one goal lead for the Eagles.  The second half saw the Eagles again step up their energy on the ball and it paid off in the 55th minute when Kearney drove in a free kick from 45 yards out and Namarra climbed high to head the ball at the goal.  The Elks' keeper couldn't stop it from crossing the line.  Shortly thereafter, a Namarra long throw connected with Endeley at the back post who headed it at goal.  An Elks defender tried to get in the way but Endeley's well-directed shot still deflected in the goal.  With under 10 minutes remaining Endeley danced along the right endline, served a ball that deflected to senior Paul Kieper who shot from the six yard line into a few Elks.  That deflection bounced in the direction sophomore Collin Matzoll.  His swivel hips were on display when he went from facing the sideline, to turning on a dime and left-footing his one timer far post side-netting.  The Eagles worked together to earn the shutout.  Matt O'Dea led the way with multiple quick runs off his line to prevent Elk chances in the final third.  The Eagles improved their record to 3-2 on the season.  
9/17 Blaine
If the Eagles would have sold Eagle Soccer Towels as a fundraiser, they would have raised some serious funds, but they are soon selling their second soccer scarf so stay tuned for details!  The wet bleacher seats welcomed the homecoming crowd which sat through steady rain for the women's game against Blaine.  Despite numerous chances for the hosts, they ended in a 1-1 draw.  The 2015 men's team welcomed a speedy and hungry Blaine team for their 7th conference game of the campaign.  From the start, the Eagles freshman Herbert Endeley gave the Bengal defense fits with two hard shots their goalkeeper saved.  His crafty possession in the box and quick service to senior captain Ebuma Namarra lead to the Eagles first goal in the 7th minute.  Namarra's shot blasted off the keeper and ricocheted into the ceiling of the Eagles' World Cup Box net.  The game evened out for the remainder of the half with the Eagles handling Blaine's quick transitions and angled services out the back with discipline and confidence.  The second half saw a few tactical changes by Blaine and after the first twelve minutes a direct free kick was awarded to the Eagles just to the right of the 'D' at the top of the Bengal penalty area.  Senior midfielder Qomoo Atomsa lined up the free quick and offered a visual demonstration of the meaning of Lefty Power.  His blast struck the last man in Blaine's wall and veered into the goal for a 2-0 lead.  When the Eagle coaches and teammates were yelling "hard ten"--an expression to encourage increased effort and discipline--the Bengals took that advice and scored from a collected mis-clearance just a minute later.  The intensity rose and the Bengals worked to shift the momentum even more.  That's when, in minute 64, senior midfielder Connor Muller demonstrated his Eagle Soccer power (and football experience) by failing to go down despite a Blaine defender repeatedly grabbing him at the top of the 18 yard box (thanks Fitness Coach Sylvia!).  Connor's strength and balance kept him upright enough to rocket a right footed strike past the keeper.  3-1 Eagles with 16 minutes left.  The temperature may have been dropping at the stadium but the pace and the determination were beginning to boil.  Blaine again responded with a goal with under 10 minutes remaining.  It felt like a rodeo where determined riders and uppity horses try to outlast one another--two high school soccer teams trying to best their opposition.  With 40 seconds remaining, the Eagles had a throw-in deep in their attacking end.  Chelsea fans would appreciate the Eagles playing it to the corner and doing their best imitation of Diego Costa shielding the ball to eat the clock.  The fans at this homecoming match up however saw something different: the throw was picked off by Blaine and a long ball was sent, Eagle defenders and goalkeeper Matt O'Dea were running at the ball like two trains, full steam, on the same track.  O'Dea's clearance hit a player running at him and headed back his direction.  His second attempt was collected by a Bengal.  He shot it at the Eagle goal and it was heading in with under 10 seconds--until, junior center back headed it off the 6 yard line thanks to his long recovery run behind the chaotic pinball-esque moment.  The Eagles improved to 5-2 and visit Maple Grove, Monday at 5PM.  
9/21 Maple Grove
Match day eight took place at Maple Grove's stadium.  In its early days, the school had an impressive, wide, grass soccer-specific field but with the dawn of artificial turf and the desire for games to be played in stadiums, Maple Grove's soccer field went by the wayside (or turned into practice fields).  The Crimson were coming off a 4-1 loss to Champlin Park while the Eagles were building off of their 3-2 victory over Blaine.  The wind again played a factor in the style of play of this Northwest Suburban Conference matchup.  In the first half the Eagles were going into the wind and the Crimson were craftily sailing in their attacking half with flair, strength, and creativity.  How did the Eagles handle the physical play and the speed of the turf?  Early on it was advantage Maple Grove but the Eagles backline of Andrew Keller, Ed Chomillo,  Peter McHugh, Adam Vettel and James Challou and goalkeeper Matt O'Dea kept things tidy in the back...until a deadball in midfield was served into the penalty area and the Eagles defensive intelligence lagged for a moment that allowed Maple Grove to head the ball to an unmarked attacker just yards from the goal and went up 1-0 in the 16th minute.  The sluggish Eagles struggled to connect multiple passes when they won the ball for large segments of the half.  But in minute 37 the Eagles showed some life.  Then in the 38th minute a Maple Grove clearance became a Luke Lindsay '1-touch win' --a 1 touch pass off the opponent's turnover--to Connor Mullen.  Mullen received the ball just left of the penalty area, turned and dribbled toward the penalty spot and drove a blistering shot in between the keeper and the near post to help the Eagles enter the break tied 1-1.  The wind and a recommitment to movement without the ball saw the Eagles create a handful of half chances in the second half.  But the Crimson absorbed the pressure and had their fair share of forays into their final 1/3 as well.  Regulation ended scoreless.  During the two five minute overtime periods the Eagles continued on the front foot.  A corner kick header that struck the cross bar in regulation for the Eagles and another header that was cleared off the line (or past the goal line depending on who you talk to) with under 2 minutes in the second OT meant the Eagles were denied the 3 points and finished with a 1-1 score.  The team is eager to see if the Channel 12 rebroadcast will shed any light on the goal line chance but they clearly understand that they left other opportunities wanting and now prepare for a match against Osseo Thursday night at 7pm at TG.  Come out and support the Eagles!  
9/24 Osseo
On a soggy Thursday the Eagles hosted Osseo for the second season in a row since joining the NW Suburban Conference.  The sand-based Jim Totino Field drained well but the wear and tear of football and boys and girls soccer made for an uneven and slippery surface.  The quick cuts and cheeky maneuvers with the ball that Osseo performed were both deceptive and productive in forcing the Eagle defense to stay organized and send a few too many clearances out for Oriole throw-ins or corner kicks.  On the night, the Eagles had two corner kicks and Orioles had two corner kicks and the teams' keepers each made four saves.  Osseo scored in the 36th minute on a bar down cracker from outside the 18 yard box--it was a goalazo!  The Eagles were down 1-0 at the half and found it hard to garner the spirit that they demonstrated in some of their previous games.  But in the 57th minute an outstanding service from outside back Andrew Keller found Qomoo Atomsa, whose well-timed run saw him collect the ball in stride off his chest, and pound it past the Orioles talented keeper.  The Eagles  built on that momentum and created a number of chances that the Orioles weathered.  The game went to overtime and two minutes in the Orioles found one of the speedy forwards inside the penalty area, he turned his defender and sent it far post where it hit the post then traveled just over the line toward the near post for the game winning goal--another brilliant moment of soccer that gave the Eagles a frustrating result.  The Eagles visit Breck Saturday morning at 10am for their homecoming soccer game.  
9/26 Breck
Breck 1 Eagles 1 Last Saturday, the Eagles were the homecoming opponents of the Breck Mustangs.  It was a beautiful September weekend and the roster of the Eagles was somewhat depleted due to injury.  Breck's two leading scorers were mentioned in pregame preparation and it is those two players that created two offside goals that were called back as well as the game-tying goal in the second half on a corner kick.  The Eagles got on the board with an aggressive run up the field by outside back Adam Vettel.  His service into the middle was intercepted by a Mustang but his pass was intercepted by Imo Etuko.  Etuko took a touch perpendicular to the goal and blasted past the Breck keeper to give the Eagles the lead.  The halftime talk included the notion that the game would be won or lost in the midfield and the end to end action in the remain time (regulation and then OT) saw samples of that from both sides.  Injury to the Eagles keeper meant the Ebuma Namarra would make his debut at goalie for the amount of minutes it took for the JV keeper to jog over to the varsity stadium at the conclusion of their 2-1 victory.  With under a minute to go a long Breck kick didn't get handled well by the Eagles and #10 and #11, their two best players, were in on goal.  A pass from one to the other lead to a goal but the assistant referee raised his flag--offside.  While Breck expressed frustration.  The Eagles set the ball down and sent it to half field where Herbert Endeley and Etuko drove forward and created a shot that was off target--exciting, end to end action.  The game ended 1-1.  It was the third consecutive overtime game for the Eagles.   9/29 Andover Andover 5, Eagles 0 Tuesday night the Huskies of Andover hosted the Eagles in a Northwest Suburban Conference match up.  The Eagles were still missing multiple starters due to injury but the 5-0 loss had multiple contributors.  Andover's coach recognized that their strike rate--five goals on six shots on goal--was exceptional.  The Eagles had a sluggish start, failed to clear the ball cleanly, were not as disciplined in man marking and didn't finish their chances.  Andover scored on a diving header from a corner kick in the 7th minute, a scrum on the goal line after a failed Eagles clearance in the 16th minute, and a failure to close down a one touch shot that went upper 90 in the 19th minute.  The Eagles tried to regroup at half and did own the possession battle in the second half but a missed ball and bar down shot gave Andover a 4-0 lead in the 59th minute and a half volley from outside the 18 with 13 seconds left ended the frustrating evening.  The Eagles had four shots on goal and will need to finish such chances moving forward.  Thursday night the Eagles host conference rival Spring Lake Park at TG at 7pm. 

Totino-Grace High School

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