Gitchi Gummi U-13 competes with state's best soccer teams in Premier League

Minnesota Youth Soccer Association's best teams compete in the Premier League. But only one boy's team from northeastern Minnesota, Gitchi Gummi U-13 of Duluth, competed in the elite developmental league this summer.

Minnesota Youth Soccer Association's best teams compete in the Premier League. But only one boy's team from northeastern Minnesota, Gitchi Gummi U-13 of Duluth, competed in the elite developmental league this summer.

Gitchi Gummi more than held its own against Minnesota's best U-13 teams, going 4-4-2 in regular season play against powerful traveling teams Wayzata, St. Croix, Lakeville, Woodbury and Centennial.

"We played every team in our league twice during the regular season, and we either beat or tied each team at least once," Gitchi Gummi coach Dave Geary said.

Gitchi Gummi, which finished its season Thursday, went 8-3 in tournament play, and won a prestigious tournament in Rockford, Ill. when it didn't allow a goal in five games.

"Another season highlight was a 4-0 win over a Wayzata team that participated in the regional tournament," said Geary, who also serves as executive director of the Duluth Arrowhead Youth Soccer Association.


Gitchi Gummi threw a balanced offensive and defense system at opponents, Geary said. The team boasts two Olympic development team players, Doug Frey and Jesse Geary, both midfielders.

"We had a handful of kids that can play with the best kids in the state, and they made the other players on our team better," Geary said. "We communicated well and played as a team, which allowed us to be better than our individual parts."

Gitchi Gummi players attend nine different schools in the Duluth area.

"Them coming from different schools gave our kids an opportunity to play together as a team, and then allows them to compete against each other at the high school level," Geary said. "It allows them in the future to view their opponents not as the enemy but as real people -- as friends -- who happen to play on the different team."

Take a bow, Gitchi Gummi champions, with comments from Geary:

Isaac Curtis, forward/midfielder: "Isaac is a big, fast and aggressive player who set up a lot of goals. He attends Woodland Middle School."

Blake Erickson, defender: "Blake was new to our team, learned the game quickly and was one of our top defenders. He attends Marshall."

Doug Frey, forward/midfielder: "Doug has tremendous foot skills and vision, and scored a lot of our goals. He attends Marshall."


Jesse Geary, midfielder: "Jesse has great foot skills, is an extremely hard worker and sets up a lot of goals."

Rob Gitar, defender: "Rob has tremendous speed and is an extremely hard-working player who attends Woodland."

Alex Giuliani, goalkeeper/forward: "Alex was a tremendous goalkeeper for us this season. He has great ability to distribute the ball and has the size to get to tough shots. He attends Ordean and will eventually attend Duluth East."

Mickey Huska, defender: "Mickey is aggressive, hard-working and always gave us 110 percent. He attends Holy Rosary."

Rob Johnson, forward/midfielder: "Rob has great foot skills, has a very strong shot and good speed. He attends Ordean."

Sam Levang, defender: "Sam has great ability to win the ball away from the other team and send it up field to our players. He attends Marshall."

Colin Lindemood, forward/defense/goalkeeper: "Colin is an eighth-grader at Esko, who works very, very hard and is great at stepping in and winning the ball from the other team."

Ben Marshall, midfielder: "Ben is very fast, very aggressive and never gives up. He will be a freshman at East this fall."


Jesse Merrill, forward: "Jesse has a great left-footed shot and recently scored two goals in a very critical 6-0 win over St. Croix. He attends Morgan Park Junior High."

Alex Munson, sweeper: "Alex is an extremely solid defender who's very smart, has great vision and ran our defense. He's from Hermantown."

Eric Nilsen, defender/forward: "Eric is extremely fast and works very hard to win the ball every time he's on the field. Eric attends Morgan Park."

Mike Rust, defender: "Mike is a very solid defender who rarely allows anyone to get past him. He also attends Morgan Park."

Tyler Wegehaupt, defender/forward/midfielder: "Tyler's strength is that he plays very well anywhere on the field. We call him our Al Newman, who can pop into any position and play it well."

Geary is assisted by coach Jason Jones, a Minnesota Duluth student, and manager Deanne Roquet.

Between the Lines

  • Dick Swanson and Tim Utt will coach the Denfeld softball team starting next spring.
  • The Denfeld Booster Club's five-man golf scramble is Saturday, July 26 at Enger Park. The $60 event ($70 without a golf pass) will consist of 18 holes of golf and a spaghetti dinner and door prizes. Send your entry fee to Denfeld Boosters Club, 2501 W. 15th St., Duluth, MN 55811. Checks should be made out to Denfeld Boosters Club. For tee times call 722-3576.

Howie Hanson writes a regular sports column for Duluth Budgeteer News. He can be reached at 624-7495 or by e-mail at .

What To Read Next
Get Local