River Falls soccer players saluted thier fans who made the long drive to Milwaukee Friday to cheer the team on at the WIAA State Tournament. Photo by John McLoone
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gon, a team that went ….

gon, a team that went on to win the state championship 3-1 the following day. Even though the result wasn’t what River Falls wanted, Langer said it was still an amazing experience for the program.

“It was a ton of fun,” Langer said. “We got to watch a lot of really good soccer. Overall, the easiest way to refer to it would be to call it a magical opportunity. This group of seniors we have now were freshmen in my first year in the program. I grew as a coach alongside them while they grew as players. To be able to have that all culminate together into one moment like that was something really special that I will carry with me for a while.”

Langer stated that the true leaders of the team this season were the senior class of boys. He stated that they’re incredible kids and leaders who have had to endure some of the toughest seasons in River Falls soccer history. A lot of that heartbreak is from exiting the playoffs earlier than expected in previous years.

The senior class for River Falls includes Thomas Moua, Trevor Haefner, Parker Benda, Isaac Carns, Evan Luedtke, Justin Elsesser, Libero Ricci, Miles Longsdorf and Gabe Selleck. Luedtke and Longsdorf were two of the team’s three captains for the season, in addition to junior Elliot Auderieth.

“They’re incredible leaders that have been through some challenging seasons, getting knocked out of playoffs way earlier than expected,” Langer said. “They’re incredible leaders and I think that is going to be the hardest thing to replace. I had four or five kids that were captain-caliber leaders that were present on the roster and filling that void will be huge. I don’t think it will be the same.”

It’s way too early to begin looking at next season in terms of roster construction and how the team could potentially play, but Langer says that some of the intangible aspects of the team, as well as the confidence of making a state tournament appearance, are things that could carry over to the 2022 soccer season.

“I think next year we can expect to carry this momentum going forward,” Langer said. “If we’re able to develop around the rest of the players I expect us to be able to make another run next year with a good core of the team coming back. We’ve got the building blocks to keep pushing forward.”

As is the same with every sport in high schools across America, class sizes ebb and flow which can impact the program in positive and negative ways. Despite that, Langer and the rest of the coaching staff will continue to work at growing the program to help make another run at a state tournament appearance next season.

November 10, 2021