Jimmies' Valle, Pike sign with Duluth Football Club
The two will continue their National Premier Soccer League journey after previously suiting up for Dakota Fusion Football Club.
When their careers as Jimmies ended, Aaron Pike and Diego Valle both said they dreamed of continuing their soccer careers after graduation, and this summer that is coming true.
Amateur soccer team Duluth Football Club announced on social media that it has signed Pike and Valle for the upcoming 2022 National Premier Soccer League season. This is the second team that the pair have played for together in the NPSL after playing for Jimmies assistant Sam Winning from 2020-21 for Dakota Fusion FC.
As the two looked to move on past Jamestown, Winning reached out to Duluth head coach Sean Morgan about bringing the duo to his team.
"They've always been the two standout players in my opinion for Dakota in recent years. .. It seemed like a good fit to bring them here," Morgan said. "I think they'll fit really well into the style that we try to implement for our team throughout the summer. Obviously, very talented guys and their attitudes jive with how I want to set up my teams and how I want players to be."
Valle said the whole process took a little bit more than two weeks to come together, from reaching out to signing with the club.
Pike said that once he made the decision to leave Jamestown in the summer, he reached out to Duluth to explore the chance of playing for them. As the two hope to continue their soccer journeys past this summer, Valle said he is eager to hopefully use Duluth as an opportunity to move up.
“Just a different environment and location in hopes to expand some connections within the soccer community here in the U.S.,” Valle said.
During their senior season, Valle and Pike combined to score 15 goals and nine assists for 29 points. The foreign nature of the Duluth squad is nothing new to the Jimmies duo as the team has players from 10 countries. The current Duluth team has players from six countries.
“I’m excited to meet new players and work together," Pike said. "That’s the great thing about this team and league you’re able to meet different types of players from around the world and country."
Pike said the two chose to play together for Duluth after graduating because of the growth they expect to have while playing for the club.
“We both wanted a change of scenery and to challenge ourselves, which we felt Duluth was perfect for,” Pike said.
Pike is excited to continue to play with Valle.
“It’s always great to play with a fantastic player like Diego, especially after graduating from university,” Pike said. “It gives us one last chance to play together.”
Morgan said one of the reasons the club wanted to bring Valle and Pike on board was their work ethic and their high soccer IQ.
"I think the biggest thing for these two coming on and how I see them fitting in, not just them, but players we recruit to fit our style," Morgan said. "First and foremost, we want players that are going to work hard on and off the ball. They make a lot of selfish runs that can open up space for other members of the team and pull the opposition apart. From an attacking standpoint, they get in good positions through their work rate and from a defensive standpoint, really good at closing down. They make it difficult for the opposition to play through and they're obviously tactically of different positions and places they should be taking up to make us more compact as a unit."
Valle said his expectations are sky high for the season with Duluth.
“I believe we will do well as a club this year and knowing their good history of football I have no doubt we will continue that legacy and bring some silver home,” Valle said.