Men’s soccer club escapes Iowa cold for nationals competition in Arizona


Riley Eveleth/Iowa State Daily

Striker Simon Goettl kicks the ball at the ISU men’s soccer club practice in September. The club will compete in the open championship bracket at nationals in Phoenix, AZ. Goettl is currently nursing an ankle injury but should return for nationals.

Kyle Heim

The men’s soccer club escaped Iowa’s cold weather temporarily when it traveled to Phoenix for nationals Wednesday, Nov. 20.

The club fell short of earning a spot in the championship bracket of the tournament, but its strong effort throughout regionals has earned it a spot in the open bracket at nationals.

After advancing past group play for the first time in club history last season, this year’s team is hoping to make even more progress. Club coach Andreas Commins believes the depth of this year’s team will provide the men an advantage as they prepare for a three-game span during a 24-hour time period.

The other three teams the club will compete against within their group include Northern Arizona, Villanova and Miami. The winner of group play will advance to the quarterfinals.

The club hopes its schedule packed with Division III and junior college level competition has better prepared it for nationals.

“We went to Loras earlier this year, which is one of the best Division III programs in the nation, just a tough team at their JV and varsity level,” Commins said. “Those are teams that practice five days a week and take part in as heavy strength and conditioning programs as regular college programs.

“We went in as a club team and got a tie at Loras, which was great. We’ve played a pretty high level of competition this year and done very well.”

In addition to a busy schedule of matches, the club has added three two-a-day practices for the past month in preparation for nationals. This organization was nonexistent in the team’s schedule prior to Commins arrival as coach last season.

“A couple of years ago coach Commins came into the picture and it was really nice to have that kind of leadership,” said senior and left center back Evan Brooks. “He really helped organize the club a lot and from there we became a lot more serious about the commitment and it feels like a legitimate program with the practice schedule and the commitment level.”

The arrival of Commins led to the most successful season the club’s ever experienced a year ago and players expect the club to make an even further step forward on Thursday.

“I feel like we’ve put in a good amount of effort and definitely deserve to win,” said Abdul Daoud, midfielder and team president. “The team really has to focus on keeping it all on the field, and not letting any of the other teams get in our head.

“As long as we keep doing what we’ve been doing all season we really don’t have much to worry about.”

Unlike last season, this year’s team has had to overcome ankle injuries to key scorers Simon Goettl and Jesse Hanes. Commins is optimistic Goettl will return for Thursday, Nov. 21, but said it is less likely Hanes will be able to play.

With such a deep roster Commins will look to others on the team to score goals if Goettl or Hanes are unable to compete.

“This year our talent is pretty solid above average across the board. We’ve gotten goals from different people when we needed them,” Commins said. “We don’t have one primary goal scorer, or one guy that creates everything. Every game it seems like someone else has stepped up and had a great game.”