NMFC U15 Boys Bring Home Gold at Nutmeg Tournament!

by April Lange

The Northern Missouri Stars U15 Boys, led by Head Coach Matt Heeren and Assistant Coach Jesse Krebs, brought home the championship by showcasing exceptional talent and teamwork in the Nutmeg tournament held on May 4, 2024, in Kansas City, MO.

In a display of skill and determination, the Northern Missouri Stars secured wins against Sporting Blue Valley 2009 (3-1), KC Athletico Madrid 2009 (3-2), and Revolution United 2009, triumphing 3-2 in pool play and clinching the finals with a 2-1 victory over the returning champions.  With creative and skilled midfield play from Mason Krebs and Beckett Lyons, the Stars led an impressive attack with goals from Briggs Dent, Alex Vincent, Matthew James, and Kaison Russell.

Coach Heeren praised the outstanding defensive performance of Lincoln Farwell, Camdin Puckett, Jake Lee, and Benson Heeren, emphasizing their cohesive play as a unit, which significantly contributed to the team's triumphs.  Coach Heeren also applauded Memphis Snirch for very important saves in goal and incredible leadership.  Other key contributors to the team’s success included Evan Cianciola and Jonas Jachura. 

Coach Heeren reflected on the team's journey, emphasizing the inclusive and community-driven approach to building the team's success. He stated, "This is a competitive team that was built inclusively from the ground up 10 years ago...The only expectation from the coaches from the beginning has been that players earn their playing time through hard work and always maintaining a positive influence over teammates.  The players have bought into this philosophy completely, creating a special culture of teammates genuinely playing for each other."

This team has truly been built by the community, drawing upon the dedication of parents who have embraced the team's values and culture, the time and expertise given by student coaches from ATSU, Truman, and Kirksville High School, and the invaluable contributions of club volunteers who handle everything from field preparation to logistical coordination. Additionally, the unwavering support of sponsors like ATSU has underscored the importance of these experiences and the community's commitment to nurturing young soccer players, but more importantly, young leaders. These collective efforts have not only fostered the growth and development of the players on the field but have also instilled in them a sense of camaraderie and support mirroring the community's unwavering backing. As Coach Heeren has consistently emphasized to both players and parents, since these young men were four years old, soccer is simply the vehicle to much bigger, more important lessons that will help these young men become leaders in their families and communities  — lessons of passion, teamwork, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence. As this team transitions into high school, Coach Heeren looks forward to their continued support of each other and their success as a team, “let’s go Kirksville Tigers Soccer!”

*photo credit: Kate Krebs