PELLA — The boys are back on the pitch. The Pella Dutch lose eight seniors from the canceled 2020 season and only have five players returning who saw time on the field in 2019. 13-year head coach Mark Solomon (134-71-3 record) will have a young squad to lead this season.
“We will have a young team for 2021 with the vast majority of our players as juniors or younger,” Solomon said. “Although young, most of our newer varsity players have more experience playing for club soccer at younger levels. Chemistry will be an important focus for the team as we look to improve throughout the season with players at many different levels of high school.”
Returning for the Dutch, who lost in the 2A substate final in 2019, are seniors Geordie Laidlaw, Will Rasmussen, Josh Warner, Mason Holland and junior Ike Held.
Laidlaw, Rasmussen and Warner all saw time on the backline for the Dutch with Warner leading the way with 24 starts while tying for a team-high three assists.
Held saw action in one game as a freshman as the forward would also score in that contest.
Holland was the team’s backup keeper in 2019, playing just 63 minutes with a save percentage of 66.7% in limited action.
Isaac Semini, Teddy Apostolopoulous, Logan Solomon and Levi Hansen are all guys that coach Solomon expects to step up and have a big impact this season among the newcomers.
Pella, who went 9-9 and 3-4 in Little Hawkeye Conference play, will return to action in what should be another tough season in the LHC. The Dutch along with Norwalk, Dallas Center-Grimes, Newton and Grinnell have all made trips to the state tournament in recent years while Indianola’s size and talent also make for a challenging opponent.
But as always, Pella is up to the challenge and is eager to see how their newcomers enter the mix and can lead the squad back on the pitch.
“Having missed this past season, it's anyone's guess how these teams will be able to play consistently this season,” Solomon said. “But the excitement and enthusiasm for the game is back in a way that hasn't existed in a very long time, and I'm excited to see what happens.”