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Soccer alumni come back for a weekend of fun

Past and present members of the Grinnell soccer team huddle last Sunday at the alumni match.  Photo by Misha Gelnarova
Past and present members of the Grinnell soccer team huddle last Sunday at the alumni match.
Photo by Misha Gelnarova

Jong Hoon Bae

On a very hot Sunday afternoon last week, the men’s soccer alumni came back to play the current Pioneers on Springer Field.

“I am so slow that I can’t catch anyone on their team,” said Chip Maxson ’85. “There is a lot more individual skill than when I was playing.”

Though it was a friendly match, the Pioneers did not go easy on the alumni. The lively offense of the current players proved to be too much in the end. After a close first half which saw the Pioneers take a 1-0 lead, the current team stepped it up in the second-half, scoring two goals to win 3-0. The alumni had some very good chances as they passed meticulously through the Pioneer defense and had some opportunities in front of the goal on which they were not able to capitalize.

“They play a fast-paced offense,” said Joe Klein ’93.

Regardless of the result, it was all smiles on the field as the old and young Pioneers shook hands at the end of the match and took pictures together.

Maxon remembers his time playing for the Pioneers to have been fun, recalling fun stories that former head coach John Pfitsch told in the locker room.

“We would go to meetings before practice everyday and he would just tell stories and then when we went out he would start telling us what to do,” Maxson said.

Maxson graduated with a math major from Grinnell and is currently a software developer at GoDaddy.

Klein, a political science major with an environmental science concentration remembers specific catchphrases Pfitsch employed.

“Penetrate and pass out” and “keep your knees bent” were two that both Maxson and Klein recalled.

Artis Curiskis ’18, who plays an important role in the Pioneers’ midfield, mentioned that the alumni were similar to the current team in terms of having the same atmosphere in the locker room and catchphrases.

There is no doubt that both Maxson and Klein had a good time playing for the Pioneers and their love for the game carried into their lives after Grinnell.

Maxson continued to play soccer for a club team as a graduate student at the University of Iowa. After graduation, he played a lot of pickup games here and there.

Klein also played a lot more organized soccer after graduation. He played as an all-star on the Fox Valley Soccer League in Wisconsin as well as on the Hawkeye club with a couple of other Grinnellians. Hemnow plays for the Ames Hurricanes soccer club.

Curiskis explained that wants to follow Maxson’s and Klein’s footsteps and is sure he will play soccer after Grinnell.

Maxson and Klein showed tremendous passion for not only soccer but for the college as well. Maxson has been to more than 15 alumni games, so many that he has lost count. Klein has been to at least five games.

Maxson, Klein and Curiskis all only had good things to say about the game that they played.

“It is always fun playing the alumni,” Curiskis said. “They have a cumulative knowledge of soccer and there is so much knowledge on the field at once.”

As Maxson and Klein mentioned, the Pioneers have a bright season ahead of them. Though they lost their season opener 2-1 against Simpson College, they won their home opener against Crown College 5-0, a game in which Curiskis had three assists. Curiskis and the Pioneers play their next game at the University of Dubque on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

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