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Gitchi Gummi Soccer Club

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Oct, 2018

60 Gitch players advance to State tournament!!

An incredible 60 Gitch players will be representing local high schools next week at the state tournament finals. Marshall girls team (pictured), Denfeld boys, and East boys all secured their spots this week with section final victories.

Marshall girls won 4-0 in their final Thursday night against Chisago Lakes. Baamlak Haugen scored 2 goals, with Tori Thorson and Gianna Kneepkens scoring the other two to finish the game. Later that night, Denfeld won 3-0 against Grand Rapids with two goals from Jon Faynik and one from Keegan Chastey. Interestingly, this meant that all the goals in the section finals last night were scored by Gitch players.

Our Director of coaching, Barry Chastey, said "It is great for Duluth as a city that we have three teams heading down to the Minnesota State Tournament.  When you look through the rosters and see 60 of the players have been with Gitch, it is a wonderful achievement. As a Club, we constantly talk about developing our players. We strongly believe our teams should play at the highest level possible, this doesn't always equate to winning but what it does is produce players who can play at a high level and become massive players at the High School level. 

He continued to talk about the two coaches from Denfeld and Marshall adding, "As a Club, Gitch prides itself on having the vast majority of the College coaches in the area in our club along with many of the high school head coaches. Two of our coaches who have been technical coaches for many years, and whom Gitch has paid for to have had the opportunity to go to London, England for a week to be trained by West Ham United coaches will be leading Marshall girls and Denfeld boys to State.  Both Nic Bacigalupo and Scott Anderson have been with the Club for over 25 years. Nic has the Marshall girls playing very well as they head to State, and Scott was amazingly named the Coach of the year for ALL 1A school coaches".

With regards to how the season went and what their expectations are for State, both coaches had positive answers. 

Gitch veteran Nic said, "Our team is comprised of players that are passionate about soccer and playing at a higher level. We have a balanced attack and defend well in numbers. We also like possessing the ball as much as possible. I expect that we will be able to compete with any team that qualified for state. If we can continue to finish our opportunities and defend in numbers we will have a chance in any game."

Scott added of his team, "A key to our team winning this year was the dedication of each of my players. From summer workouts to late night practices, these boys kept plugging along. Another factor was simply getting touches on the ball. A lot of them. The more comfortable we were with the ball, the better our playing went on the field. We are happy to be back at state after going 2 years ago. But don't take this wrong, we're not just "happy that we're there." We have a goal of getting playing time in U.S. Bank Stadium in the semifinals. We believe we can do that."

So how does this come back to Gitch? Both coaches shared their opinion on how the club has affected each squad. "Gitch has had a huge impact on the 3 teams heading to state. Most of these kids are playing at C1 or Premier level which means they play at the same level as the players from the other teams heading to state. A lot of the Section 7A teams don't have C1 or Premier level and it makes a big difference," said Nic.

Scott added, "Gitch's part in all this? I think I counted 16 on my team as either former or current Gitchi Gummi players. The way our club develops players is extraordinary. The beauty of Gitchi Gummi too, is that we take players from everywhere. It's fun watching players play against their summer teammates (and it's fun to coach against them too). It's a rivalry, but it's a clean one. The standard of play in the whole area has risen up, and I believe that our club has played a huge role in that."

Finally, Barry summarized this great achievement by stating, "To have two veteran coaches who are so involved in our Club have success with their high school teams is tremendous! You can see the Gitch influence in the way their teams play and with the group of players they have to work with. It is an unbelievable honor for Scott to be recognized as the coach of the year. We all hope Scott and Nic can guide their teams to "the Bank" and do Gitch proud!" -- something which the whole club agrees with!