Development via soccer
Six years ago, Michelle Grinstead noticed several children in Pelican Rapids with idle time and no direction. Grinstead figured the boys - many of them children of workers at the local turkey processing plant - might be headed for a troubled future.
Six years ago, Michelle Grinstead noticed several children in Pelican Rapids with idle time and no direction.
Grinstead figured the boys - many of them children of workers at the local turkey processing plant - might be headed for a troubled future.
So she decided to something drastic: start a youth soccer team.
"I wanted to keep the kids interested in school," said Grinstead, whose Pelican Rapids Tigers earned a 2-2 tie against the Moorhead Jazz on Saturday during the Moorhead Youth Soccer Club Invitational.
Grinstead's strong desire to give the kids a recreational summer activity trumped even her novice soccer background.
Although she had experience as a coach, Grinstead had never before coached soccer.
She had never played soccer. She did not even know the rules.
Grinstead enlisted several older brothers of the children on her newly formed team to teach her the game.
It was an interesting start, she said.
"They were all excited for me to give them a team to play on," Grinstead said.
Through the years, players on the team have hailed from an eclectic mix of countries: Mexico, Africa, North America.
The team continued to diversify four years ago with the addition of female midfielder Kate Woolever.
Woolever, 15, has become a sometime starter and the Tiger's top substitute.
"She's really easy going and has a great work ethic," Grinstead said. "It's a challenge for her. If people are going to look down on her for being a girl she's going to work twice as hard."
Team captain Yusuf Abdi, 16, remembers being hesitant when Woolever first joined the team.
"We took it easy," Abdi said. "But she's tough now, a good defender."
Woolever, who plays for the Fergus Falls Hillcrest Lutheran Academy girls soccer team, said some opponents are still unsure of how to play against her.
"I get some nasty comments," she said. "And some people kind of baby me at first. I just want them to treat me like one of the guys."
Grinstead's team has finished second twice at the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association state tournament.
Grinstead said she is hoping the team can advance to state again this year in the U-16 Division.
However, state tournament appearances and regular season victories are not the most important result of Grinstead's wild idea six years ago.
"It's been everything for me," said 16-year-old Miguel Diaz. "Soccer is all I've got. If I wasn't on this team, I maybe would be doing some bad things."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562
Under 11 Division
Red River Invaders 3, LAYSA 2
Fergus Falls 1, West Fargo Lightning 0
West Fargo Lightning 2, Red River Invaders 2
Moorhead Cougars vs. Fergus Falls
Red River Stars 2, LAYSA 2
Red River Kickers 1, Jamestown 1
Red River Stars 1, West Fargo Cruiser 0
Moorhead Panthers 6, LAYSA 1
Jamestown vs. West Fargo Cruiser
Under 12 Division
Moorhead Hawks 6, Jamestown 3
Red River Fusion 2, Fergus Falls 0
West Fargo 4, Jamestown 2
Moorhead Hawks 3, Fergus Falls 2
West Fargo vs. Red River Fusion
West Fargo 2, Moorhead Falcons 0
Red River Flames 7, Detroit Lakes 0
Red River Matrix 1, Moorhead Falcons 0
West Fargo 8, Detroit Lakes 0
LAYSA vs. West Fargo Clovers
Under 13/14 Division
LAYSA14 0, Fergus Falls14 0
Moorhead Sting13 2, West Fargo Flames14 1
Moorhead Kicks14 3, Jamestown 1
RedRiver Bulldogs14 9, LAYSA13 0
Moorhead Kicks14 6, LAYSA13 1
Red River Bulldogs14 vs. Jamestown14
Fergus Falls14 vs. Moorhead Sting13
West Fargo Flames14 vs. LAYSA 14
Under 13 Division
St. Croix 1, Moorhead Strikers 0
LAYSA 3, Jamestown 2
Jamestown 1, St. Croix 0
LAYSA vs. Moorhead Strikers
Under 14 Division
Moorhead Wildcats 3, Heartland 0
LAYSA 2, West Fargo Storm 1
Jamestown 3, Detroit Lakes 0
LAYSA vs. Moorhead Wildcats
Under 15 Division
Cottage Grove 7, LAYSA 1
Cottage Grove 3, Moorhead Thunder 1
NSSA 1, Red River Strikers 1
Moorhead Rovers 1, NSSA 1
Under 16 Division
West Fargo Packers 3, Fergus Falls 1
Pelican Rapids 2, Moorhead Jazz 2
Fergus Falls 0, Moorhead Eagles 0
West Fargo Fire 4, LAYSA 0
Moorhead Eagles vs. Fergus Falls
West Fargo Fire vs. LAYSA
Under 19 Division
Moorhead Astros 2, LAYSA 1
Red River Rangers 3, Fergus Falls 0
Fergus Falls vs. Moorhead Astros
LAYSA vs. Red River Rangers
Fergus Falls 3, Champlin 0
LAYSA 3, Red River Rovers 1
Jamestown Jazz 5, Moorhead Wind 2
Red River Rovers 0, Detroit Lakes 0
Fergus Falls vs. Moorhead Wind
Champlin vs. Jamestown Jazz
LAYSA vs. Detroit Lakes