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.
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.
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.
In addition to numerous collegiate soccer players, the Eagles Soccer Program is most proud of the amazing men that are now fondly remembering the Eagles soccer memories while striving to make a difference in the world. The hope of the coaching staff is to help young men learn about themselves, others, and life through the sport of soccer.
Coach Vance was the Totino-Grace C-Squad coach in 1999, B-Squad in 2000, JV in 2001 and has been Boys' Varsity Head Coach since 2002.
|Jeremy Fisher||Assistant Coach|
|Andrew Blake||Assistant Coach|
|Tommy Soehn||Assistant Coach|
|Chris Vance||JV Coach|
|Adam Wolfe||C-Squad Coach|
Since 2002, the varsity boys soccer team has earned five conference championships, eight section championships, and three state championships. Every year the goal is the same: conference, section, state championships. 2017 was the first time in the history of the school to accomplish that goal. Numerous student-athletes from the TG Boys Soccer Program have earned all-conference and all-state honors and a select few have been recognized as All-Americans from the Eagles soccer program.
- Home Opener Sees Eagles Stymied by Elks’ Parking of Bus, 8/31/20
- Armstrong’s Falcon’s Nest Grounds Eagles' Production, 9/2/20
- Eagles Almost Tame Top of the Table Bengals on Senior-Parent/Guardian Night
It felt really good to be able to host a varsity soccer game considering today was the first time our classes of 2021 and 2022 were in the building as a class since March 13. Due to the MSHSL choosing to move football to a February start, high school soccer in Minnesota is what is occupying stadiums for the foreseeable future. Each team is allowed 11 games, there is a 9 page directive describing the do’s and don’ts, and teams are asked to pay particular attention to sanitizing their hands, not making unnecessary contact with others, and physically distancing whenever possible. In our Northwest Suburban Conference, the home team is allowed 250 total guests and the away team is allowed 75. Because of this, all who are attending are asked to register for each game by going to the boys or girls TG soccer websites.
On this gorgeous evening of the last day of August, Totino-Grace hosted four soccer games: two JV and two varsity. The 7PM kickoff vs Elk River was delayed a little bit due to the clearing of the stadium after each match (NWSConference Protocol). In advance of the game the Eagles had a laundry list of forgotten equipment, tardy arrivals, missing practices due to numerous valid reasons over the past two weeks. All of these contributed to a starting line up that, while surprising to members of the team, did more than hold their own. Elk River’s early attempt to pressure the ball in pairs was handled well by the Eagles. The eagles registered their first shot on goal 9 minutes into the match. Elk River returned the favor less than two minutes later but if the game were to be summarized in an Eagles Soccer phrase, one may select ‘wide not high’ in reference to the off-target shots or communi-shape to remind the team to perform their positioning and movements together in response to the ball, space, and opponent in unison.
Time of possession strongly favored the Eagles but the goose eggs on Jim Totino Stadium’s scoreboard after 80 minutes (no overtime during the pandemic) meant the Eagles will be forced to rue their plentiful half chances and acknowledge that any first game with a shutout is not a bad way to begin one’s season. The zero -zero draw felt a little more like a loss due to the amount of opportunities but the backline and senior keeper Leo Conforti did what needed to be done when Elk River earned a few cornerkicks that created danger that was appropriately dealt with by team defense and the sure hands of Conforti. The Eagles travel to Armstrong Wednesday for a 5PM kickoff.
After a training session that named the importance of every opportunity and a reminder of the importance of creating and finishing chances, the Eagles were hoping to keep the strong defending while demonstrating improvement in the area of chance production as well as finishing. The three points on the pre-game dry erase board challenged the team to be more mindful of the transitions, to stretch the space and 80 minutes of concentration. The game was televised on ccxmedia’s website (link below).
To say there wasn’t a shot on goal in the first half could communicate strong defense. It also communicates a lack of creativity in solving the challenges the game offered each team. The Eagles had more possession, a few free kicks and a corner kick in the first half but nothing to show for it. Armstrong turned things up in the final minutes of the half when the Eagles lack of retaining shape and Armstrong’s aggression in pursuit of the ball resulted in a few chaotic episodes that the Eagles ultimately dealt with thankfully. The first recorded shot on goal came in the 44th minute. The Eagles team cycled through the 18 man roster trying to make positional and midfield shape adjustments to increase the likelihood of danger in the Falcons’ box.
With under 15 minutes left the Falcons keeper took down an Eagle in the box and earned a yellow card. The falcons back up goal keeper subbed in for the yellow card and did what he could to distract the Eagles’ spot kicker. The shot was sent just wide of the post glancing the wrong side of the post. The Falcons tried to build on that momentum shift while the Eagles quickly regained focus. The final ten minutes saw tired legs be guided by minds that were working to overcome the heat and fatigue. The stalemate was frustrating but the second shutout in a row speaks to the discipline and organization of the backline lead by senior keeper Leo Conforti. The Eagles have plenty to learn from and plenty to build on as they seek improvement in each performance.
The 5-0 Blaine Bengals visited the 0-3-2 Eagles Friday night where the theme was play with an attitude of gratitude for our seniors and all of our parents and guardians. The Eagles locker room was upbeat and ready. Four seniors from our JV team were invited to dress to celebrate their valued careers as Eagle soccer players and honor the sacrifice and support of their parents as well. Tied for NWSC first place with Champlin Park, Blaine's senior-laden squad also boasts five sophomores and they entered the match undefeated, having scored ten goals and allowing two. The 2020 version of Senior & Parent/Guardian night included the statements of gratitude each player wrote for their parents/guardians being reverently read by the soothing and authoritative vocals of announcer, David Nelson TG class of ‘13 and former Eagles goalkeeper. The flowers were presented, seniors each had a poster-sized youth soccer picture made of them, and each member of the Eagles roster and their parents/guardians was assigned a physically distanced cone on the track--including the managers. The halftime recognition was memorable. The play on the field throughout the match was closer to the performances the Eagles’ faithful are used to witnessing at Jim Totino Stadium.
Junior captain Roddy Hood inspired the team with pre-game words and did more than inspire with his Michael Bradley-esque mileage over the 80 minutes. While Blaine took the opening kick off and shortly proceeded to connect eight passes in a row, the Eagles elected to compete, to strive together for the 80+ minutes on this beautiful evening for high school soccer. Senior keeper Leo Conforti was pressed into service within a minute and a half when he was forced to dive to his right for a quick reaction save that lead to a cornerkick. The Bengals’ corner had pace and sliced through the six-yard box where a few frenetic Eagles and a hungry Bengal swung at the ball. Luckily, the Bengal’s strike was sent over the crossbar, avoiding the too-open net. It was an invitation for the Eagles to rise up or roll over. Thankfully they rose up. Blaine’s size, speed, and technical proficiency was matched by the Eagles’ strength, discipline, and athleticism. The Eagles backline did well enough, and when they didn’t Conforti stepped in with quick decisions, steady hands, and proper positioning. Senior Will Brey was relied upon multiple times to demonstrate his recovery speed and centerback partner senior Ryan Kehn made multiple timely tackles and important distributions all game long. During a little back and forth series, junior Saikou Dibba countered with deliberate touches forward. A turnover eventually found its way back to Dibba who switched the ball quickly to the right wing. Demonstrating that playing to one’s strengths is a wise course of action in the modern high school game, senior wing Jack Kreger used his body language to engage the Bengal defender. Quickly getting by the attempt to defend by Blaine, Kreger passed him with pace and blasted it upper shelf against their keeper--only their third goal allowed in six matches. The Eagles entered halftime with a 1-0 lead and a 0-0 mentality. The Eagles dealt with Blaine’s high free kicks into the area and forrays down the wings and with just under 9 minutes to go, a series of ‘wish we woulda’s’ led to a Bengal having three attempts at goal. The third attempt was slotted home to draw the game level. Senior Captain Connor Swanson continued to close down defensively and direct his teammates as well as penetrate offensively to lead the team on this memorable evening. The Eagles prevented anymore Blaine shots on goal the rest of the way and earned a hard-fought 1-1 tie.
The Eagles would like to thank the Hood Family and Jenny Swanson for organizing the numerous details associated with Senior Parent Night and Tom Savard for taking photos at halftime.
"I played soccer at TG all four years of high school. I love the soccer program here. They have a great coaching staff that really push the players. Joining the soccer program during my freshman year, I made new friendships with some amazing people. It was truly a blessing to play soccer with those guys. It’s crazy how fast four years have already gone by. I will cherish all the memories I made with my brothers." - Milton, '21