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Willmar Cardinals boys soccer preview


Richard Courtney, 7th season


Chad Akerson; Matt Williams, Ross Dahl JV 1; Brad Haugen, JV 2


Central Lakes Conference: 7-7, fifth place

Overall: 14-9, Section 2A champions


Season: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Mankato East.

Central Lakes Conference: 5 p.m. Tuesday at St. Cloud Apollo


SENIORS: Abshir Ahmed, attacker; Abdiqadir Yusuf, attacker; Abdiweli Yusuf, defender; Badal Ali, midfielder; Joshua Centellas, midfielder; Spencer Davis, midfielder; Josh Freitas, goalkeeper; Ahmed B. Hussein, midfielder; Ahmed Hussein, attacker; Tim King, defender; Stephen Reynolds, midfield; Josh Wright, defender

JUNIORS: Abdifatah Ali, defender; Muktar, Dahir, attacker; Mitch Fader, midfield; Omar Hussein, attacker; Kevin Keenan, defender; Liam Johnston, midfield; Jeff Newberg, midfield; Landon Peterson, midfield

SOPHOMORES: Bakar Aden, attacker; Graham Dahl, midfield; Caesar Jimenez, attacker


- The Cardinals won 14 matches for a second year and reached the state tournament for the first time, losing in the quarterfinals at St. Cloud State to eventual state champion Breck.

- There is good experience on the 22-player varsity roster, which includes 10 letterwinners and six returning starters. There is a large freshmen turnout, which will help stock the JV 1 and JV 2 teams.

- Josh Freitas, last fall's JV 1 goalie, will patrol the net with the graduation of all-conference pick Steve Kluver. Freitas must play well for Willmar to challenge for the top-three finish in the conference.

- Senior Ahmed B. Hussein, a starter in 10th grade, returns after attending school in Connecticut last year.

- Badal Ali can play defense, midfield or attacker with equal authority. His switch to sweeper toward the end of the season ignited Willmar's late run.

- Josh Wright, Tim King and Kevin Keenan, who is up from the JV, will lead the defense. Liam Johnston and Landon Peterson are returning starters at midfield. Abshir Ahmed is a returning striker who will be counted on for scoring.

- The CLC goes to nine teams with the St. Cloud Apollo and Sauk Rapids pairing at an end, creating two teams from one. Defending champion St. Cloud Tech and runner-up Brainerd again are the teams to beat.

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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