De Pere soccer shows no signs of slowing down
By Murray Gleffe
DE PERE – Three months after making it to the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 1 state championship game, the De Pere boys’ soccer team appears to be writing another chapter.
In the 2021 season opener Aug. 24, the Redbirds scored five first-half goals en route to an 8-1 non-conference victory over cross-town rival West De Pere at Cloud Family Field.
“The boys did a great job working the field today,” Martin Valenzuela, first-year De Pere head coach, said. “They stayed focused with the ball and off the ball. It was a good way to start the new season.”
Games used to have 45 minutes per half, but that was reduced to 40 minutes.
“Some of the boys aren’t happy about playing 10 fewer minutes,” Valenzuela said. “I feel it helps when you have a crammed schedule. It gives you more time to rest, especially when the weather is warm. We can only control what we do on the field.”
De Pere jumped out quickly.
In the ninth minute, the Phantoms got caught sleeping on defense when De Pere’s Noah Maki slipped a pass to Carson Elliott who knocked home the first goal of the night.
Six minutes later, De Pere’s Trevor Theado took a free-kick from 43 yards out.
William Dwyer took the ball out of the air for a 2-0 lead.
In the 18th minute, with the Redbirds pressing the offensive button, James Dorchester found Owen Fawcett on the side of the net for a 3-0 advantage.
“It’s good to be back,” Dorchester said. “We wanted this one against our rivals.”
Minutes later, Dorchester got into the scoring festivities by notching his first and second goals of the night.
The latter came with three seconds until halftime to make it 5-0.
“It was huge for us to go into the break having just scored,” Valenzuela said. “We set the tone for both halves and finished the game.”
Kevin Ramirez added a penalty kick goal for the Redbirds to open the second half.
A bit later, with De Pere up 8-0, West De Pere got on the board in the 79th minute after Tyler Kowalczyk blasted a shot in from close range to finish the scoring.
“We had lots of seniors on the squad in June,” Valenzuela said. “Thankfully, though, we had enough underclassmen who were able to live the moment and get better along the way. They are ready to lead this team.”
West De Pere: 0, 1 — 1
De Pere: 5, 3 — 8