Speaking of Sports

By John Fragodt, Sports Reporter

David Vinje took over the head coaching position of the Minnewaska Area boys soccer program last fall, taking over for longtime coach Ted Hill.

One of the first things Vinje did when he became the head coach was to revive the youth soccer leagues for Minnewaska Area athletes.

“This summer we held our first season of the Minnewaska Mallards Soccer program, fielding 8U, 10U and 12U teams,” Vinje said.  “With over 50 participants in our first season, we are excited to see the potential growth of soccer in the Minnewaska area.”

Vinje said that while Minnewaska Mallards Soccer is a ‘new’ program, it really is a revival of previous offerings of summer soccer in the Minnewaska Area.

“As a kid from Alexandria, I played my first competitive game of soccer in 1998,” Vinje said.  “My 12U team was thumped 8-0 . . . by Minnewaska’s 12U team coached by Ted Hill.”

Later, when Vinje was approached by some parents asking whether they should send their kids to Alexandria or Morris for a summer soccer experience, “it made me think, why not here?”, Vinje said.  “That was just enough inspiration for reviving the summer soccer program here at Minnewaska Area.”

Vinje is thankful to the community for all the help he received in getting the summer soccer program underway.  He also thanks Todd Vinje, Caleb Greene, Tony Feigum, Jeff Heitzman and Andy League for their help volunteering and helping to provide the Minnewaska Mallards with an excellent first summer.

“The reception has been amazing,” Vinje said  “We are blessed to have a supportive community of families who want to see youth activities thrive in the Minnewaska area. 

“It’s especially exciting when natives of Villard — some having no association with soccer — approach me excited about the usage of the ‘Mallards’ moniker,” Vinje said.  “Pat at Screen Prints Plus in Glenwood did an amazing job creating the logo (pictured at left).  She took my idea and made it even better than I could have imagined!”

Vinje said the Minnewaska Mallards’ soccer program will be back in the fall so look for registration details in the Fall Community Ed catalog.

“So many people have cultivated and furthered a love of soccer here in the Minnewaska Area over the years and the Mallards are an extension of their hard work,” Vinje said.