Hard as it may seem in the midst of winter with Arlington Park buried in snow, the season opener is only twelve weeks away.
It will be another historic opener as Stegman’s Old Boys welcome a newly-formed team to the club. The side, SOBs through-and-through, will be plying their trade in Division Three and playing their home games on Sunday evenings immediately before the Old Boys kick off their home matches. That means that the first Sunday in May will see two teams kicking off their MRSL campaigns.
And that means that there is all the more to do to get the club ready for the 2011 campaign.
An ugly back and forth with Tunisia’s Tunisienne FC and super-agent Mr Ben over three members of the Old Boys squad, Dave Tesch, Alex Haueter and Derric Johnson, was just the beginning of what has been a busy close season for the Blues in terms of personnel.
The bad news continued with the loss of defender Mark Schmitt, a key member of the SOB first XI, to Des Moines. “As a manager, you hate to see players get unsettled, hate to see players move on” said SOB Manager Jon Bisswurm “and it was not a great start to our first close season to see that happen, especially with our new team and as I had outlined opportunities to augment our current squad to improve on our 3rd place finish this past season. I was a hot little potato through much of December.”
“I am the Chairman. I invented the SOB piano key team necktie. I invented it!” screamed Club Chairman Dan Hoedeman “of course I was going to make sure that we met the Manager’s personnel requests and fielded two teams of the level of quality, technique and handsomeness that befits a club of our grand traditions. So I did.”
The Old Boys have added attacking firepower to the side, looking to replace the goals of the departed Dan Erickson and Mark Schmitt. New signings Paul Diegnau, Dan Warner and Pete Manning will all fit comfortably in the tactically progressive 4-2-3-1 that the club plays and their pace, trickery and goal threat should improve the number in the goals for column.
“We saw Paul and Pete in the fall and their quality really shone through” said Manager Jon Bisswurm “and the recent addition of Dan Warner is really the final piece of our attacking puzzle. We have so many options that offer pace, directness, trickery, and more. I can’t wait to get the FIFA Lab fired up.”
Additional new signings Jake Steere-Williams, Sebastian Castro-Malaspina and Jake Keeler bring technique and no little steel to the side and will look to make their cases as defensively strong players who offer a range of passing and quality on the ball.
“I am convinced that the quality we have available across both teams is top drawer” said club board member Holger Meiser “the hard part now is putting all of the pieces together. And that’s not all that hard, not with the guys that we have. It’s like building sweet techno out of a driving beat and some funky beeps and boops. Easy.”
In addition to the new signings, the return from injury of key members of last year’s side will significantly strengthen the team going into 2011. Cole Erickson (dislocated ankle), Jon Bisswurm (ankle fracture) and Dan Hoedeman (patellar tendon) are all back in training and expected to be at full strength and match fit in time for the season opener.
“Like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly” noted General Manager Nick Sindt “so we have become a big club, and we’re focused on turning our current momentum into silverware.”