DYERSVILLE – They play baseball in Dyersville, though you already knew that. Folks up here are nuts about the sport.
But soccer is blazing, pun intended, a path in “Field of Dreams” territory, too. It’s not a real huge path, yet, but it’s growing.
“Around town, yes,” said Dyersville Beckman goalkeeper Michael Gibbs. “Around school, not exactly.”
Give Gibbs’ classmates a little more time. Eventually they’ll discover that “pitch” doesn’t necessarily refer just to baseball.
Beckman went into its game Friday 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in Class 1A. It’s the first time in the nine-year history of the program it has achieved that status.
“It’s the first time, and I think it’s a big step for Beckman High School,” said head coach Mirek Laskowski.
Laskowski is a native of Poland, where he played soccer. He won a visa lottery 15 years ago to come to the United States.
It’s Beckman that appears to have won the lottery by finding him. The Blazers made their first appearance at the state tournament two years ago and they’ve beaten perennial powers Waterloo Columbus (twice), Iowa City Regina and Council Bluffs St. Albert this season.
The thing about this club is its youth. Miles Link is the only senior that plays regularly.
“We’ve been playing together for a long time, since we were younger playing in the same youth leagues,” said Gibbs, a junior who started as a freshman on Beckman’s 2010 state tourney team. “We talk a lot on the field. We know where each other is going to be.”
Sophomore Kyle Grover has 14 goals and junior Eric Dunkel 12 for Beckman. Junior Adam Noethe has eight goals and 13 assists.
“We’re a young team,” Laskowski said. “We’re going to have the same group back next year. I’m optimistic about that … We have very good team connections. They know where each other is at on the field. They know how to manage the game, how we play.”
How they played so far is nearly flawlessly.