Erik Rossing Senior Sioux Falls Lincoln
Rossing played in the back of a system that was designed to go forward. Coach Doug Townsend has always belived that it is no shame to make a goalkeeper do his work. Rossing did that better than any other keeper in the state. It is rare for any high school player to have his own fan following, but judging by the huge number of Lincoln students parked on Rossing’s end game after game, chanting “Eric Rossing,” we could easily judge that Rossing was also the most popular player in the state, as well.
Trent Hunking Senior Sioux Falls Washington
As systems change and coaches try to send more players forward, it is becoming increasingly important for those left back to defend have a package of speed, size, physicality and desire. Hunking fit all those criteria and plenty more. Hunking is that kind of player that any coach would love to have in that position of responsibility.
Cesar Cuellar Senior Sioux Falls Lincoln
Appearing in his second Elite Eleven team, Cuellar filled many roles for dynasty Sioux Falls Lincoln this year. As a player who is expected to be the final act of defense for his team, Cuellar also had the freedom to go forward at his discretion – and he did that plenty. His accumen for defending is well-known and keepers quake when he sets up for a free kick from anywhere in their half.
Trey Culver Senior Spearfish
NCAA coaches drool over players like Culver. Tall, athletic, strong and with tremendous skill, no player beat him to a header during the season. Culver’s extensive experience in club battles helps him organize his team to maximum advantage. Culver went forward on every Spearfish corner and sent his team mates forward when it made sense to his team’s advantage.
Cole Cruse Junior Pierre
The Governors’ system this year was designed around getting player forward. And to be effective there, you need a distributing midfielder who can put the ball in the right place at the right time. Cruse has a reputation as a hard worker and a selfess midfielder, but this year he added pinpoint passing to that rep. Possessing a perfect blend of strength, speed, skill and soccer brain, Cruse made the players around him better every game, but still took the responsibility to score goals as a major part of his job.
Tyler Limmer Senior Brandon Valley
Sometimes you get a player who plays in team that doesn’t enjoy a lot of success, but who still plays like there is that possibility to win – even though they might be several goals down. Limmer brought a lot of competitive experience to his Lynx team and his leadership at Brandon Valley this year was irreplacable. Limmer would have starred in any high school team in the state and is the third straight Brandon Valley star to appear in an Elite Eleven side.
Johnny Clark Senior Sioux Falls Roosevelt
Clark was without his sidekick, Elite Eleven Player of the Year Daulton Kaiser this year and we were wondering how he would deal with that. It was no surprise when Clark stepped up and ran the midfield for Roosevelt during their very successful 2014 season. Clark spend 80+ minutes every match making every player around him look better and perform better for the Rough Riders. And he didn’t forget to score – netting several game-winning goals during the season.
Derek Beaumont Senior Rapid City Stevens
There is probably no better soccer brain in South Dakiota high school soccer than Beaumont. Among his many, many gifts is the ability to process the game and anticipate both sides of the game. Stevens’ entire scheme was enriched by his presence. Stevens had a very successful season and Beaumont was connected to their defensive success and their offensive success.
Teren Schuster Senior Sioux Falls Lincoln
A speedy, slick guy with a real nose for the goal, Schuster was a player who punished defenses every time they didn’t respect his stuff. Schuster played from several positions during the season, either as target player up top or attacking out of the midfield. As the season progressed, teams’ attention to him created opportunities for his team mates, and that is the dynamic that ultimately worked for Lincoln in the state championship match.
Kolby Scott Senior Sioux Falls Roosevelt
There may not have been a more dynamic player in South Dakota soccer for many years. Defense after defense thought they could handle Scott and he proved time after time that he was above them. Scott scored goals from just about every possible scenario over the season. His speed was not matched anywhere and he has an uncanny ability to anticipate where the ball might pop out from the crowd. He scored several beautiful first-time goals on perfect-placed shots.
Brennan Lytle Senior Rapid City Stevens
If we were allowed only one term to describe Lytle, we might use the term “work.” Or perhaps “effort.” Maybe “effective.” But relentless would probably describe him best. Lytle did more running than any other pure forward in South Dakota in 2014 and scored plenty of goals because of his work. But it was the opportunities he created for team mates that made him special. Lytle created more for his team this year than any other forward.
Player of the Year
Teren Schuster Sioux Falls Lincoln
We have never had a closer race for Player of the Year. We had several players who were completely qualified to fill that role, but Schuster surfaced as the top man during his state championship match.
The result of his work during that game – as it was in so many Sioux Falls Lincoln matches – produced the winning goal.
Schuster is not surrounded by a bunch of superstars, but by a lot of hard working players who understand how to play team soccer. But his efforts over the course of the 2014 season propelled his team into the playoffs and ultimately led to the Patriots hoisting the cup at the end.
Coach of the Year
One might think that it is no special chore to do this, considering the athletic talent at Sioux Falls Lincoln, but that is not the case. Other programs have many more high-powered club players. Others don’t have to deal with the multiple languages and cultures that Townsend must address at Lincoln.
And the final arbiter this year was the fact that more than any other team in South Dakota, Lincoln has to deal with opponents’ best game every time they step on the field. There is an old saying that “Getting there is a lot more fun than being there.” Townsend proves year after year – and especially this year – that the old addage doesn’t hold water. Being there is what drives the super-successful Lincoln boys soccer program. And there is no end in sight for the most dominating team in memory.