HS Boys’ Soccer: Mandan-St. Mary’s have ‘natural chemistry’ in co-op’s first season

National Sports

Earlier this summer, KX Sports first broke the news that St. Mary’s elected to cancel their boys’ soccer season and create a co-op with Mandan, so how will the new team look. We spoke with players and coaches to find out.

For the next three seasons, Mandan and St. Mary’s will play soccer together.

“Excitement of what these guys coming here could bring,” head coach Stephen Weston said. “To give them the opportunity to continue playing and be apart of a soccer program is huge.”

The Saints brings over 13 players all competing for varsity spots. 

“A lot of the St. Mary’s guys are proving themselves,” Mandan’s Ian Dahners said. “The Mandan veterans are wanting to keep their positions also.”

And competition is a good thing.

“Competition breeds a high level of play from everyone,” Weston said. “Everyone wants to be on the field. So I’m hoping that elevates our game.”

Of those 13 Saints, five are seniors, who will wear a different jersey for the first time.

“You want to be a Saint all throughout high school,”  St. Mary’s Alex Schon said. “And just having the program go away took away some of that spirit of being a Saint.”

When two teams merge, coaches normally worry about chemistry, but that worry fades as some of the new teammates played club together during the summer.

“I was kind of excited before everyone else,” Schon said. “I was like, ‘Guys we can still play with Mandan and all be on the same team.”

As far as game strategy, the two schools played different styles, so there has been an adjustment period.

“A lot of these guys can adopt quickly,” Dahners said. “There soccer IQ is high. So they will be able to fit right in.”

The first game for Mandan is this Saturday against Grand Forks Red River at the East-West Crossover in Jamestown.

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