Just like every other season during the school year, spring is filled with competitive high schools all working towards being champions of their sport. Year after year, Urbandale High School is one of many schools competing in the gauntlet of Iowa soccer. Following two consecutive strong seasons, Jimmy Frizzell and the Urbandale J-Hawks hope to dominate the field like they are so used to.
Three years ago, Urbandale made a coaching change following Kepler Johnson’s decision to resign from Urbandale. The school responded by wisely hiring a young man named Jimmy Frizzell. Frizzell was previously an assistant coach for Urbandale’s longstanding rival, the Johnston Dragons. He also has a significant amount of experience assistant coaching at the collegiate level. He continues to be on the coaching staff for Simpson College’s soccer team, currently in his seventh season. Frizzell brought something to Urbandale the program desperately needed. Urbandale went from a .500 team to a competitive, powerhouse in the Central Iowa Metropolitan League, or CIML, following this coaching change. In the last two seasons, Urbandale has gone 25-11, including a conference championship, a state playoff berth during the 2016-17 season, and a two-time winner of the Merle Hay Cup (the unofficial title for the game between Urbandale and Johnston). There is no doubt Frizzell is the spark Urbandale has been searching for previous to his hiring.
Looking ahead, Urbandale is returning 11 letterwinners from a year ago, seven of which were underclassmen. Now that these players are a year older, Urbandale is hoping their experience will outbid their youth, especially since the team has a minimal amount of seniors. “We actually return a veteran group this year, so we’re definitely excited to see some of that veteran status of some of the players come to fruition,” says Jimmy Frizzell in his interview with Kick It Forward. “The expectations are to definitely build on what we did last year. Last year we were 14-4, conference champs, and a state tournament berth. This year the expectations are to exceed that.” One of the few seniors, Edward Idehen, will be the anchor for this Urbandale team. Idehen is also looking to continue his successful 24 goal outing a season ago.
While everyone in Urbandale has been looking forward to the upcoming soccer season, the team is facing a minor setback regarding the players. Juniors Eli Crow, Elliot Idehen, and Recardo Wleh are taking the opportunity to play for the youth Sporting Kansas City team, the affiliation to the professional Sporting KC. Those three players are living in Kansas City for a semester to play at a very high level.
Back in Urbandale, the team isn’t going to let a few absences affect their season. Frizzell and his squad have high hopes for the upcoming season, daring to achieve what only they believe is possible. If they do so, the J-hawks will continue to build their resume as a dominant team playing in the CIML.