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Middle school “kicks” off new school year

About a month ago, the middle school’s sixth, seventh and eighth-grade soccer team started their 2018 season about a month ago.  The teams give the students a chance to get involved and practice their soccer skills in competitions with other schools.

Andrew Brooks is the eighth grade coach at the middle school and is in his first year coaching at the middle school.  The assistant coach for the eighth grade team, Kayla Hokenstad, is also in her first year of coaching soccer.

“I have coached some club teams, a JV team, and some sixth, seventh and eighth-grade teams,” Coach Brooks said.

The players have been improving greatly and the coaches are a huge part of that.  Many of the students aspire to be like their coaches and have the same skill set.

“The coach helps me to know what I did wrong and how to fix it,” sixth-grader Teagen Thompson explained,  “and everything that I did right, and to keep doing that.”

Seventh-grader Tristan Sheldon explained how Coach George Buerman, the sixth and seventh-grade coach, is one of his biggest supporters.

“He seems supporting when I’m playing,” Sheldon said.  “He tells me where to go and what to do, which helps me.”

Coach Buerman has been coaching for approximately 10 years for both of his children.  He is coaching the sixth and seventh-grade team because his son, George Buerman V, is on the team.  

“I played soccer when I was a student,” Coach Buerman said. “I started playing soccer when I was about five years old.  I played for a bunch of house teams when I was growing up, and I played for my city’s traveling team.”

Both coaches can also tell that their players have improved and enjoyed learning more about the sport.

“My favorite part about coaching is watching when one of my players actually gets it,” Buerman said.  “When you teach them something that they definitely don’t understand and you see the light bulb in their head.”

Sixth-grader Trinity Popelka has been playing soccer for about five years.  She is the only sixth grader that was moved up to play on the eighth-grade team.

“I liked the thought of kicking a ball,” Popelka said.  “I like the strategy part of the game, and getting to play with all of my friends and getting to know the people.”

Not only is playing a fun experience for the athletes, but the coaches enjoy it as well.

Coach Brooks described his favorite part of coaching as, “spending time and goofing off with the kids.  Also seeing them get better.”

The season is off to a great start, and the students are winning games and continuing to work on skills they will need for the future.

“They’re working hard and getting better,” Coach Brooks said.  “We got stuff to improve on, but we’re looking better than day one.”

Most of the students on the field will continue to play through middle school and maybe even high school.  They all felt that joining the team is a great way to get involved.

“It’s fun to win and be a part of a team,” seventh grader Thomas Keszo explained.  “I’m closer to people I didn’t really know.”

Soccer is a great way to learn more about the sport in a competitive way with people that share the same eagerness to learn and meet new people.