Hopes high for Jimmies
Three straight successful seasons has the Jimmie men’s soccer team on the verge of national relevance in the NAIA.
With the Jimmies opening the season today at home against Concordia College, hopes are again high.
“That’s one of the main reasons I took this job last year is because of the high standard,” Nienhaus said. “We have high expectations. We want to get into the (national) tournament. Get in the top 25 along the way. Those are some of the goals we have and they’re attainable.”
The Jimmies, who have won 11, 13 and 11 matches the past three seasons, return a formidable side.All-American Jade Johnson of West Fargo, who has 25 goals in three seasons, and ace midfielder Jack Keeling, form a strong foundation on which to build. Senior Jack Hartley and junior Jack Humphries also look good in the center of the pitch.“Theoretically we could have three Jacks starting in the midfield,” Nienhaus said. “They’re all good players.”Seniors Ben Eastwell and Kody Duncan will look to anchor the back, where the Jimmies lost a pair of starters.Steve Harris, another senior, is in line to replace Thomas Cooke as goalkeeper.“We have a good, healthy core returning,” Nienhaus said. “They’ve had success and they’re expecting big things this year for sure.”Behind the veteran wall, Nienhaus is high on the young players in the program and the incoming recruiting class. Depth is a strength.“In another year some of those players I recruited could start. The nice thing is it elevates training,” Nienhaus said. “The level of competition has increased and it’s making us stronger.”The results continue to prove the point.“It’s like the old religious saying, ‘Iron sharpens iron.’ We want to continue to build the program year after year with the players that we bring in. Players that are good for our program and good fits on our campus,” Nienhaus said. “That’s the path to success for us and we feel like we’re doing what needs to be done.”Sun sports editor DaveSelvig can be reached at (701)952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org